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Why are city corporations failing to tackle the mosquito problem?

  • Published at 01:40 pm February 25th, 2018
  • Last updated at 04:00 pm February 27th, 2018
Why are city corporations failing to tackle the mosquito problem?
Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) are having a hard time tackling the mosquito problem in their respective parts of Dhaka City. Even though every year funds are increased to rid the city of the disease-ridden insects, there have been no visible improvements. There are complaints that the machines and insecticides being used are defective, and that there is also a lack of manpower. Last year, DSCC was given a budget of Tk11.5 crore to rid their part of the city of mosquitoes, with this year’s budget being increased to Tk25.5 crore. DNCC was given Tk20 crore this year. People are living in such a situation they have to use mosquito nets during the day. Andul Awal, a resident of Dhaka, said: “The mosquitoes are out of control. We only hear about the city corporation taking steps to control the situation but we do not see any city corporation workers. Even though we hear about initiatives, we do not see any one taking action.” When asked about such complaints, DSCC Chief Health Officer Dr Sheikh Salahuddin said: “This is not true. Our workers regularly perform their duties. The ward councilors are in charge and making sure everything is in order. We often organize crash programs to combat difficult situations. Recently we have successfully uprooted Chikungunya.” But he also said some of their equipments do not work properly, and that there is a shortage in manpower. Several officials from both DNCC and DSCC said that the insecticide used to kill the mosquitoes is not of high quality. Spraying the mosquitoes does not instantly kill them. Sources said that 5-6 workers are assigned to spray each ward with insecticide. But people claim that they hardly ever see these workers.

Issues with equipment

A report from last year shows that DSCC has 940 apparatuses for killing mosquitoes. Out of these, 442 are handheld, 447 are foggers, and 51 are wheelbarrow machines. Out of the handhelds, 208 do not work. Of the foggers, 186 are completely useless, and 16 of them work only partially. Of the 51 wheelbarrows, 18 do not work. In total, 428 out of the 940 machines are completely useless. The situation is quite the same at DNCC. They have a total of 653 machines and over half of them do not work. The gear needs maintenance and certain parts need to be replaced every now and then. The health section often applies to the store section for fulfillment of these requirements. The store section complains that the parts of these machines cannot be found in the country. The equipment is bought from foreign companies. If they send an email or contact the companies via their website, the replacement parts will be sent. It would cost less that way as well. But the officials are allegedly trying to buy new equipment instead of fixing the old ones. The officials said that the mosquitoes apparently do not die because they fly away as soon as they hear the loud noise of the machines. They said that mosquitoes mostly reproduce on the rooftops and gardens of the city dwellers. The workers do not have permission to go to these areas and spray the insecticide. They said that awareness needs to be raised among the citizens. DNCC Chief Executive Officer Mesbahul Islam said: “We are spraying insecticides regularly. But we do not have permission to enter all areas. The mosquitoes tend to fly off to these places.” This article was first published on banglatribune.com