City dwellers under two city corporations in Dhaka are helpless at the infestation of mosquitoes
"I have to sit under a mosquito net every evening to save myself from mosquitoes," said Ismail Hossain, a private employee living in old town.
Coils are not enough for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes have to be controlled using various electric machines which is costly. It is important for the city corporation to take effective measures to control mosquitoes, he urged.
City dwellers under two city corporation areas, North and South, in Dhaka have become helpless at the infestation of mosquitoes. In comparison to other years, mosquito infestations have increased significantly this time, said several citizens UNB spoke to living under both municipalities.
Kamal Hossain, a government employee, lives in Paltan (Dhaka South). He told UNB that in the past there used to be mosquito infestations at night only. Nowadays infestations have increased both day and night. However, more mosquitoes attack at night than during the day.
Mosquitoes have increased a lot in the south of Dhaka. When asked what steps he has taken to get rid of it, DSCC Mayor Barrister Sheikh Taposh told UNB:"I hope Culex mosquitoes will come under control in the next two weeks.”
"We urge the people of Dhaka to be patient," he added.
He also said: "We have changed the strategy. The activities we are taking now, our morning activities are going on for four hours, we have increased our afternoon activities too. So, we are hopeful that the Culex mosquito will come under control in the next two weeks.
"However, we will change our strategy for dengue and start activities again from April."
When asked why new techniques and pesticides were not taken earlier, he said: "I want to clarify one thing for you - those of us who are experts can give a lot of great advice after something happens. But we don't get advice on what to do before the incident, what action to take. We were told that since there was an outbreak of dengue, this activity would have to continue until December. But that advice was wrong. With the onset of winter, we should have taken action against Culex mosquitoes. Because, stagnant water was starting to appear in many places."
"If we had got the canals two months ago, maybe we could have speeded up the removal of waste," Tapash said. "Then gradually the effects of Culex mosquitoes would decrease and we would get results if we changed the pesticides. Since last January, we have started waste removal and canal cleaning activities from the canals, through which we have already removed about 20 km of canals from the canals. During this time, we have removed about 2 lakh metric tons of waste-silt."
Saiful Islam, a businessman living in Bashundhara under Dhaka North City Corporation, said at night the intensity of attacks by mosquitoes is so severe that both hands have to be used in killing them. "Bashundhara City Corporation is not taking any action to kill mosquitoes. Its a beautiful residential area but now the big problem is mosquito infestation," he lamented.
Dr Ashek, resident of Baridhara J block, told UNB that there are more mosquitoes in than last few years. Mosquitoes are now a matter of panic we always have taken different measure but the mosquitoes have not decreased.
In this regard, DNCC Mayor Md Atiqul Islam told UNB that an integrated crash program to eradicate Culex mosquitoes will be launched in Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) area from March 8 to March 16 (excluding Friday).
In this crash program, all the mosquito extermination workers and vehicles of 10 regions of DNCC will be dedicated to a single region for one whole day.
"We will work intensively to kill the Culex mosquito," the mayor said. “Besides mosquito eradication, cleaning campaign will also be conducted. We want to completely sweep the whole of Dhaka North.”
Larvicide, an insecticide that is specifically targeted against the larval life stage of an insect, will also be sprayed from 6 am to 12 pm and adulticide, which are used by mosquito control programs to kill adult mosquitoes, will be sprayed from 4 pm to 6 pm. Besides, cleaning campaign will also be carried out.
According to GIS map, the campaign will be conducted by the DNCC's Department of Health, Department of Waste Management and Department of Engineering. Mayor Md Atiqul along with all councillors will be present during the campaign.
The DNCC mayor is committed to bringing relief to city dwellers. The campaign will be conducted in 54 wards of DNCC. The canals are also breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The canals are being cleaned at the initiative of DNCC. Mayor Atiqul Islam's 1-point command is to control mosquitoes at any cost.
According to North City Corporation sources, their special mosquito eradication campaign which started on February 20 ended last Sunday. During this special operation, around 45,000 roads, sewers, reservoirs, installations, etc. were inspected. Of these, 210 were found with mosquito larvae and 30,129 mosquito breeding grounds were destroyed applying pesticides. Fines totalling almost Tk1.72 lakh were levied in 89 cases for enabling an environment for mosquito larvae, for mosquitoes to breed, and other offenses.
Local minister Md Tajul Islam told UNB at present the Anopheles and Culex mosquitoes have grown their presence, as opposed to the real killer Aedes varieties that carry dengue and chikungunya.
"There is no reason to panic. We are all working together to save the city dwellers from this problem. Apart from raising public awareness among the people, if the canals and drains of Dhaka city can be cleaned, it is possible to relieve the city dwellers from these mosquito infestations," Tajul said.
Besides clearing the garbage of the canals of the capital, all kinds of infrastructures built by illegally occupying the two sides of the canal will be evicted. In the meantime, several meetings have been held with the two mayors at the ministry to decide the correct course of action, he added.