Pre-monsoon preparation: BMC traces 1479 mosquito breeding spots in the city
Mumbai: With monsoon hardly a month away, the municipal insecticide department has found 1479 spots/water pools that were breeding mosquitoes causing dengue and malaria. During the nine-day long combing operation, the insecticide department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has found three times more dengue mosquito breeding spots than malaria mosquitoes.
The pre-monsoon drive, which started on May 13 and ended on May 21, found larvae of mosquito that causes dengue at 1,146 spots, and of malaria at 333 locations, BMC officials said.
Amid the lockdown due to Coronavirus outbreak, the BMC has finally begun its pre-monsoon drive and combing operations to trace hundreds of dengue and malaria breeding colonies in the metropolis after a delay of almost two months.
Rajan Naringekar, BMC’s insecticide officer (expert), ‘Aedes aegypti’ mosquito causes dengue and ‘Anopheles stephensi’ mosquito causes malaria. During a nine-day long combing operation we found total of 1479 spots infested with larvae of these two species of mosquitos. Despite lockdown, 1,500 staff of the pesticide and insecticide department are working tirelessly and inspecting areas across the city to find out mosquito breeding colonies to avoid an outbreak of dengue and malaria.
However, with people storing water in open drums and other containers for long periods of time, health workers and officials of the insecticide department find mosquito breeding sites throughout the year. In 2019, between January to July, total of 19,172 mosquito breeding sites across Mumbai were traced and destroyed by the civic body.
“This year we have not been able to inspect many houses/risk spots in the city due to the lockdown and coronavirus outbreak. However, we will continue with our combing operations from time to time. It is easier to inspect slums pockets, however, affluent housing societies in many areas don’t allow us inside their houses. But, we know from our experience over years that water plant/flower pots such as feng shui, money plant and ice trays (filled and left in open) are common indoor mosquito breeding spots,” Naringekar added.
To curtail mosquito breeding in the coming months, municipal health workers said they are actively inspecting areas where they found the most number of dengue cases last year. According to data available by the state public health department, in 2017, the BMC had recorded 17 dengue deaths in the city – highest in the state, followed by 14 deaths in 2018. The number of deaths in 2019 slipped to three. “The number of dengue cases reported in 2016 was 1180 the number drastically came down to 920 in 2019. Up to January 2020, the BMC has recorded 19 dengue cases in the city, the monitoring of cases was put on hold post-January due to Coronavirus Outbreak in the city. Our awareness campaigns and efforts have proven to be fruitful,” he said.
The BMC has the authority to book people under Section 381 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act to impose fine, ranging between Rs 2,000 and Rs 10,000 if they create conditions that can allow mosquito breeding on their premises risking lives of neighbours along with themselves.