Pandemic or not, the other buzzword in the air is mosquitoes. The community social media platform, LocalCircles, has carried out a survey on this perennial, omnipresent menace and has thrown up some contemporary insights on mitigation measures. 70 per cent Indian households say their municipal corporation or panchayat does not at all, or rarely carries out fogging operations for mosquito control. Over 35 per cent households spend Rs 200 or more each month to keep the pests at bay, while 44 per cent spend up to Rs 200. This clearly highlights a major gap in civic services in most of the locations.
Some states are already witnessing an increase in mosquito-borne diseases while Mumbai is seeing a surge in dengue and malaria cases at most of its hospitals. Of the 2,017 respondents from Maharashtra, 34 per cent spent Rs 200 while 28 per cent said they spent nothing. As many as 42 per cent said they used repellent machines, coils and rackets, 18 per cent spent on repellent liquids, sprays, creams and patches, while only 3 per cent could avail of fogging services.
Of the 2,019 respondents in Maharashtra, 37 per cent said municipal corporations/panchayats never conduct anti-mosquito fogging in their respective areas while 33 per cent said the procedure was done once or twice a year and 4 per cent said over 12 times a year.
The survey received more than 38,000 responses from Indians residing in 352 districts of India. 61 per cent of the participants were men while 39 per cent were women. 43 per cent of the respondents were from Tier 1 districts, 31 per cent from Tier 2 and 26 per cent respondents were from Tiers 3, 4 and rural districts.
On an aggregate basis, only 5 per cent of Indian households use fogging services for mosquito control while the majority rely on electric repellents, rackets, coils, sprays and creams. 61 per cent use repellent machines, coils and rackets while 46 per cent use repellent sprays, liquids and creams. This particular question in the survey elicited 10,140 responses.
Many people have also highlighted that there is no transparency on when the municipal corporation or panchayat carries out fogging and who the point of contact is in case such services are not performed. People also raised concerns that their municipality may be allocating funds for such a service but these are non-existent on ground.
Hyderabad has already reported over 800 cases of dengue alone in the last 10 days. With schools now opening in most states and several others considering doing so in the next few weeks, cases of mosquito-borne diseases are likely to increase in September.
Taking cognizance of the issue, health officials in Madurai district have already started deploying domestic breeding checkers to monitor areas that are prone to dengue and are conducting indoor and outdoor fogging to kill those that may be carrying the dengue virus. In Delhi, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation recently issued legal notices to 20 state bus depots for allegedly failing to contain mosquito breeding during the monsoon. In Ahmedabad too, officials carried out checks at 380 commercial establishments and reportedly fined 53 of them on finding mosquito breeding sites.
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