No takers for air coolers designed to prevent mosquito breeding
A study conducted by the National Centre for Disease Control before 2008 showed that just by installing these modified coolers, the household breeding of mosquitoes can be reduced by 70%. Yet, the focus still remains on insecticides, larvicides and fumigation.india Updated: May 05, 2017 10:50 IST
Using a simple net and filters, air cooler manufacturers can now help you prevent breeding of mosquitoes in your homes. And, it will cost you just an additional Rs 2,000. However, manufacturers are lamenting that these coolers are failing to find any takers. The reason -- after the add-ons, the cost goes up to Rs 7,000-10,000 and people seem to prefer the cheapest ones.
These modified coolers with net and filters can be extremely handy considering that last year, the civic bodies recorded 454 cases of malaria and 17 deaths.
The coolers designed by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) uses a framed net to prevent mosquitoes from getting into the water in the coolers to lay eggs and the sieve-like filter on each side of the cooler ensures that the water going in is clean.
“In a normal cooler, you would have to empty it, scrub-clean it every week to break the life-cycle of the mosquitoes that spread diseases like dengue, chikungunya and malaria. However, with these modified coolers, you wouldn’t need to clean it at all, except for if something get stuck in the filter and that too can be simply removed by dusting,” said Jai Prakash Sharma from Bawana, who is one of the seven identified manufacturers of this cooler.
Another manufacturer from Amritsar, Dr SL Mahajan, who is also a doctor, said, “The study conducted by NCDC before 2008 showed that just by installing these coolers, the household breeding can be reduced by 70%. Yet, the focus still remains on insecticides, larvicides and fumigation. Why?”
Four to six years after the seven manufacturers started making these coolers, they have given up on it.
“People don’t want to buy these coolers because we make it according to government specifications and the heavy gauge coolers cost more. Many people just want to buy the cheapest. Now, we sell only about 5 or 10 pieces to the government each year. No one else buys these,” said Mahajan.
Also, the manufacturers can make the modifications only on heavy-gauge coolers which cost between Rs 5,000 and 8,000, and after the additions, the cost goes up to Rs 7,000-10,000.
“Currently, I just have the metal lying around. We don’t manufacture these coolers regularly because there are no takers,” said Sharma.
To combat the problem of prices, the Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD) came up with a unique solution.
“Our main aim is to just keep the mosquitoes away from the water. It can simply be done by installing a net over the water tank in the cooler. People do not even need to purchase a new cooler, they can just get the frame with net made at one of their local cooler shops,” said a municipal health officer.
The addition of the frame cost between Rs 25 – 100 only. “We started training local cooler manufacturers about making these frames since last year. The results should show now. In fact, we have told the domestic breeding checkers to not challan persons who have these modified coolers, because even if there is breeding, the mosquitoes die inside the cooler as they cannot come out,” said the municipal officer.
“The NCDC coolers are complicated and more costly; this is a simple intervention that can bring down the breeding. It is cheap and easy to get,” the officer added.