After reviewing the pattern of spread of malaria and dengue during previous monsoons in the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to rope in volunteers to combat this menace. The civic body feels that these resident volunteers would be able to do a better job of tracing and locating the mosquito breeding grounds within their own premises.

Mosquitoes thrive in such areas and residents have asked the BMC to first take care of these open storm water drains
Mosquitoes thrive in such areas and residents have asked the BMC to first take care of these open storm water drains

While BMC’s pest control department says that these ‘Mosquito Breeding Detectors’, being familiar to residents of a particular society, will have easy access to individual homes, the responsibility for containing the spread of these diseases will now partly shift from BMC authorities to residents.

In the year 2014, 126 persons died of dengue in Maharashtra; Mumbai alone had recorded over 12 deaths, the highest among municipal corporations or district areas in the state. While fingers were pointed at the techniques used by the BMC for combating these diseases, the pest control department says that over 95 per cent of the cases occurred due to the breeding grounds existing within residential premises.

“When we did a survey, we found that feng shui plants, money plants, defrost trays of refrigerators and air-conditioning water outlets were amongst the most common mosquito breeding grounds. However, our pest control officers face many hurdles when they try to offer door-to-door service. You need a society’s permission to enter the premises, and you also face individual flat-owners’ displeasure.

Hence, we thought it would be best if there were volunteers from the society, who would be trained to locate such spots and will have easy access to the homes. That was the most basic intention of starting this initiative,” said the head of BMC’s pesticides department, Rajan Naringrekar.