BMC ropes in volunteers for battle against dengue

The civic body is recruiting volunteers and training them, so that these ‘Mosquito Breeding Detectors’ can locate infested grounds

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.

BMC speak
Dr Sanjay Deshmukh, additional municipal commissioner, said that the programme is intended to clear the internal mosquito-breeding grounds within the premises of residential areas. He says the initiative would resolve the issues to a great extent. “We are going to continue with the initiative till June, and the residents will also receive practical training. The step is taken to contain dengue and malaria, and will help the residents,” said Dr Deshmukh.

Resident speak

Aftab Siddique, chairperson of 33rd Road Khar ALM (Advanced Locality Management)-144
We have received the appeal letter over two weeks back, but our only response to the BMC is that they actually need to look around our ward and locate the possible breeding grounds. There are under-construction buildings, hawkers’ freshwater storages and storm water drains.

First, they need to ensure all these spots are cleaned up. We have no issues with taking the training, but it is primarily BMC’s responsibility to keep a check on the degrading sanitation of the ward and not ours.

Robin Viegas, member of Vijaynagari Parisar ALM, Kalina
Our entire vicinity is one of the most affected wards during monsoons. There is a storm water drain, which has been lying open for the past three months. We have complained to the civic authorities about it, but no action has been taken yet. The training programme is nothing but a farce.

Vasant Patil, of R/South ALM (Kandivli East)
We don’t know about the programme; neither have any of the authorities informed us about it, nor have we received any appeals.

4,574
Number of appeals made to the residents of 24 BMC wards

1,265
Number of residents who showed a positive response

770
Number of people across all wards who underwent a one-day training programme conducted by pest control officers of various ward offices

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