New Delhi: In the past two years, the civic bodies in Delhi have tried out a few innovative methods to prevent mosquito breeding. Let’s take a look at the efficacy and feasibility of implementing these efforts on a larger scale.
A netted desert cooler
You will not be challaned if you use this cooler that costs between R 1,500 and 2,000 more. The modified desert coolers use a net or cover to seal off the water tank , which prevents mosquitoes from laying their eggs. There is also a cheaper hack - installing a simple netted frame from any local cooler manufacturer. It will cost only about R 100.
Benefits: Coolers are biggest source of mosquito breeding in homes, this simple modification can keep a check. Also, if you are the lazy type, you will not need to open these modifies coolers and scrub it clean every week to break the life-cycle of the mosquitoes.
Instead of using temephos, the most commonly used larvicide, you can use the extract of a plant called Agave Americana. “The extract of crushed leaves from the plant when used in a particular amount as per the capacity of the tank, destroys the larva within 1 to 8 hours. It is very effective. The only problem is growing the plant,” said an official in the Delhi Municipal Corporation.
“Even if people get the plant from a nursery once, it will get over in one season. And, growing the plant on a large scale to be used for the entire city is a little difficult,” said the official.
Benefits: It is a completely natural larvicide, which is as effective as the chemical that is used now. Using such products will reduce the amount of toxins going into our water system.
Last year, the North Delhi municipal corporation used special nets to filter out mosquito larva from Yamuna and then put them in drums full of insecticide. According to estimates, there are around one million colonies of mosquitoes in the Yamuna and the government used diesel and bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI) to kill larva.
“This, however, meant that we were pouring the chemicals into the Yamuna and polluting it. Now, instead of putting the insecticide in the water, we are capturing the mosquitoes and then putting them in the insecticide,” said an MCD official.
Benefits: The oil and the chemicals added to the Yamuna water polluted the river and also fused these chemicals into our water system. “Delhi jal board has no method to filter out these chemicals that we add to water bodies and even water at our home. So, it is fused into our water system and it is like slow poisoning,” said the official..
It only takes a fish!
The municipal corporations of Delhi are looking at the feasibility of making fish-ponds in neighbourhood parks to combat mosquito menace. “If we make a small pond in the parks, the mosquitoes will be attracted to the water and lay their eggs there. The gambusia or guppy fish in the pond can then eat the larvae, controlling the breeding naturally,” said an MCD official. “There are several ponds in Mehrauli where we are trying this,” the official added.
Benefits: Both the variety of the fish can multiply easily, so there is only a one-time cost of installing the fish-pond and putting in the fishes. The fish can be used in drains also to prevent breeding.