Monday Musings: Now brace yourself for the season of mosquitoes, flies
Spending crores of taxpayers’ money on painting walls with Swachh Bharat slogans might make our cities look deceptively better. But it is not going to impress the flies and mosquitoes muchUpdated: Feb 24, 2020 16:10 IST
It’s the end of February, winter is over and the season of flies and mosquitoes will gradually dawn upon us. While the massive, heavily funded Swachh Bharat programme is meant to primarily deal with open defecation and solid waste disposal, the presence of flies and mosquitoes- two troublesome, disease-carrying pests, will always serve as a reminder of our unclean surroundings.
How did a country like Thailand, which is famous for its ubiquitous street food, especially in its capital Bangkok, eliminate flies from its eateries? The internationally-acclaimed travel writer Pico Iyer once wrote that flies tend to gather around food that is going stale and Bangkok and its street vendors dealt with this most effectively by not only clearing food waste promptly and keeping waste bins securely covered, but also by getting the municipal corporation to efficiently pick up food waste thrice a day.
We need to check what is the state of flies in a city like Indore which has repeatedly topped the national clean city index, the Swachh Survekshan.
Spending crores of taxpayers’ money on painting walls with Swachh Bharat slogans might make our cities look deceptively better. But it is not going to impress the flies and mosquitoes much. We need to achieve real cleanliness and do things that will ensure that they don’t hover around us and our eateries.
Mosquitoes are the other indicator that we are doing badly on the cleanliness index. Last week, we carried this season’s first picture of a carpet of water hyacinth on one of the river stretches. As has been reported year after year, the presence of hyacinth is an indicator of high pollution in the river. The dumping of untreated sewage into the river is one of the reasons for this pollution and the presence of water hyacinth in turn, breeds mosquitoes which spread diseases.
The people living close to the river banks in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad suffer acutely due to the rampant breeding of mosquitoes prompted by the water hyacinth. The problem aggravates during the monsoons with stagnant water accumulating in various places, including hospital premises.
One astounding story that we reported last year was from the bird park area at Bopodi where residents complained that the mosquito menace was so intense that closing windows did not help. “Mosquitoes enter our month even if try to speak,” one harassed resident said.
The civic bodies give annual contracts for the removal of hyacinth, but that has not helped much because the root problem of river pollution has remained unaddressed. We truly need out-of-box solutions to deal with the menace of flies, mosquitoes.