Letter to the editor:

The anti mosquito campaign is a failure is a foregone conclusion, proved not only by the ever increasing number of cases of Dengue

in spite of millions being spent on this program by the government

but also by

the way the government officials go about taking action

  in fits and starts.

 Once in a blue moon, suddenly there will be a flurry of activity from the officials and every house in a particular area will be visited and those who had even a coconut shell with stagnant water will be hauled up in the courts to pay heavy fines – fair enough. But the mosquitoes must be having a hearty laugh since the very drains just outside these same  houses  will be full of muck and stagnant pools of water.

True the dengue mosquitoes breed in clean water – thank God for that – and do not breed in the drains since they are not clean and often running water may wash away the mosquitoes eggs. But a dirty drain smells horrible and breeds many other germs. And  the efforts of the municipality officers is  half baked, half hearted and lack total commitment. It must be towards a totally clean environment as a whole.
Speaking to an officer I pointed out that their actions are half hearted and not committed to cleanliness as a whole and what he said summed it all. He said, “Eva Apey wada novey!” – that is not our job – meaning my job is only to catch as many as possible culprits. If I don’t educate them, I’ll catch  even more next time!

If the officers who visit are more concerned about

cleanliness in the lanes and about

actually eradicating mosquitoes

their attitudes will be totally different. Instead of

just  gleefully issuing  warrants to the house holders, feeling grand that they ‘caught’ so many errant house holders, they would have  taken  a holistic approach.

They would have  first made sure  the drains are clean for that’s where most mosquitoes breed,

but even more importantly

 they would have taken time to explain to the inmates of the houses the importance of keeping the surrounding clean and would have visited on a regular basis to  make sure  their


 are carried out.

I know of householders who clean the premises only when they hear the health inspectors are in the  area and if they don’t visit the houses they express a sigh of relief and leave everything as it is. In fact,  if the knowledge is given properly then the householders will actually invite the inspectors in and ask them to check out the premises for often we fail to see mosquito breeding areas in our own premises.

 Now and then the Municipality wakes up to the fact that the  drains in the lanes need cleaning then there is a flurry of activity, a whole battalion of labourers and supervisors will land on the lane, removing  overgrown weeds and the garbage obstructing  the flow of water in the drains. For a full day there will be activity and then, all what they removed  will be dumped in heaps right along  the curbs and they will disappear.

When questioned they will assure that these will be removed during the course of the day, but alas! The heaps  will  remain for days to come,

inconveniencing the pedestrians and the motorists,

slowly being kicked back into the drains by the vehicles, the pedestrians and the rain. The drains will be blocked even worse than before and we can rest assured the municipality workers will not be sighted for at least another 3 months! Just visit

any lane which are being cleaned by the laborers the day after

for proof.

What an utter waste of man power and labour!

There is no planning, no coordination between the labourers and those in charge of the municipality  vehicles and no consistency in the project. Everybody – the laborers, the officers, the supervisors and the municipality councilors – all feel smug that they have done their part. But then the mosquitoes are singing their way

to their victims,  now that they have even better breeding places.

Will there ever be a consistent plan to carry out such a simple project?  Why cannot the municipality allocate a few officers

, or even volunteers

for a few lanes specifically, and first of all, educate THEM  and instruct them to visit the household owners regularly on a friendly basis?  The eradication can never be achieved without the willing cooperation of the public. Cleaning the premises, including the drains, fumigation, proper  garbage disposal – all have to go hand in hand, and continuously supervised and carried out  to eradicate mosquitoes.

Only when the housewives  in the area are convinced that it is for their own good – for their own kith and kin – that they must be vigilant against mosquitoes that the eradication will be successful.

Until then,Party time for  the mosquitoes and Goodbye to the eradication.

Sent by :

Dr. Mareena Thaha Reffai,

23A, Auburn side,


Phone 0777707775

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