After a massive outbreak last year, the municipal corporations of Delhi are promoting cost-effective innovative methods to deal with mosquito breeding this year.
In their bid to check the vector-borne disease, the corporations have come up with something called a “dengue-free cooler” — a normal air cooler that has been modified with a mosquito net above the water container to prevent mosquitoes from coming in contact with the water. The modified cooler can work wonders, said a corporation official.
The net, which comes with a plastic frame, can be made by any local cooler manufacturer and can easily be fit in existing coolers. The municipal corporations have, in fact, held meetings with cooler manufacturers and asked them to add the nets to all new coolers.
“Coolers have been found to be the biggest source of breeding of mosquitoes. This simple net can prevent that. It is cheap, and will cost cooler manufacturers only about `20 - 30. If someone gets it made individually, it will not cost more than `100. It is a one-time investment,” said the official, adding that people can also use their old mosquito nets to make the net.
“This will also prevent them from getting challaned,” the official said.
The “dengue-free coolers” will be especially useful in areas where students live, the official said. “We usually ask people to clean out their coolers every week. However, students do not do it necessarily. So, we have seen a lot of dengue cases coming from areas around educational institutions,” said the official, giving example of Maulana Azad Medical College where 20 students were affected last year.
Apart from the dengue-free coolers, the corporation is also in the process of testing the effectiveness of the extract of Agave Americana as a larvaecide. “We have already tested it in labs and have found it to be extremely effective. It kills all larvaes between 1 to 6 hours and does not pollute the water,” the official said. The civic body, as part of a pilot project, will use this extract in several areas of Delhi, instead of temiphos granules and then compare breeding data with areas where the usual medicine is used.
“If the results are satisfactory, we might make it a protocol. This will save us the cost of temiphos and the manpower needed to use it every 15 days. Also, the plant can be grown easily at home,” the official said.
Thirty-one cases of dengue have already been reported this year so far.