Thought fumigation would help keep a check on the mosquito menace in the city? It turns out that not only is the process ineffective, but also harming the environment.
Despite debates over its effectiveness, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been conducting fogging activity as a pre-monsoon exercise for decades. At present, the civic body utilises seven vehicle-bound fogging machines and at least eight hand-held machines across 24 wards.
However, experts from the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), who visited the city last week, found that fogging was ineffective in killing adult mosquitoes.
Dr AC Dhariwal, director of NVBDCP, told the Hindustan Times, “Undertaking fogging on a regular basis is not advisable. Focus should be on vector control activities and vector reduction at source. Extensive fogging will only push chemicals in the air.”
According to Dhariwal, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had streamlined the vector control and preventive operations, which yielded results to an extent.
Dhariwal explained that fogging was a temporary option and if needed the BMC should opt for indoor fogging.
A committee headed by the director of NVBDCP, which is the central nodal agency for prevention and control of vector borne diseases, inspected construction sites and areas around the airport. They also met private doctors and exchanged notes with medical health officers and pest control officers of the civic body.
The experts, who were in the city for two days, suggested that the civic body ask private doctors to share malaria-related data with them to get a better picture about the spread of malaria.
The team also commended the BMC for its efforts to curb the mosquito-borne disease.
Dhariwal said they were impressed with the field-level health staff of the civic body spraying larvicides in puddles of water, asking locals to observe a dry day and instructing them to throw water that was stored for seven days. “The BMC has been using its by-laws to ensure that steps to curb malaria are undertaken,” said Dhariwal.
Dr Arun Bamne, chief insecticide officer, BMC, said they had asked the committee to send their suggestions in writing. “Only then will we be able to work on the recommendation,” he said.