Mumbai airport's swanky T2 failing in battle against mosquitoes
While Terminal Two (T2) is known for its world-class facilities, airport staff and taxi drivers have been troubled by mosquitoes from the time of its inauguration. Almost a month after mid-day reported about killer mosquitoes at the swanky new terminal, it seems that airport authorities are trying to find solutions to the buzzing problem.
Buzz kill: MIAL was asked to stop all fountains at the international airport to avoid mosquitoes from breeding. Pic/Sameer Markande
Mumbai International Airport Private Limited (MIAL) had invited agencies to conduct surveys on the excessive number of mosquitoes. In the survey it was revealed that the Mithi River and nearby network of gutters were a major breeding ground for them. Piles of garbage at slums close to the airport and debris from nearby construction sites also added to the menace.
In order to reduce breeding ground at Mithi River and gutters near the airport, a species of fish called guppy has been introduced, which is known to be the best biological eradicator of mosquitoes. Another step taken by MIAL was to shutdown all fountains located in the terminal, although the flowing water in fountains is usually not a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Inside the airport, authorities are using mosquito liquidators at sensitive areas of the terminal. They have included fogging, misting and spraying FLBs (Fixed Link Bridges) in the daily schedule. Electric racquets have been provided to staff and 20 models of mosquito trapper machines, recommended by BMC, have been installed. A senior official from ground staff said, “Earlier it was unbearable to work at the terminal, but MIAL is trying to bring the situation under control.”
While the number of mosquitoes may have reduced, Lakshman Gorad, General Secretary, Bhartiya Taxi Chaalak Sangh said, “MIAL should cover Mithi river to reduce the number of mosquitoes. The taxi drivers standing outside are the worst sufferers of this menace.”
However, when asked, both BMC and MIAL seem to be passing the buck of responsibility to each other.
An MIAL spokesperson said, “As per the survey conducted, the main cause of this menace is the breeding zone in the nallah near the airport. BMC is actively supporting MIAL in eradicating this problem and is also currently cleaning the entire stretch of Mithi river. MIAL has also taken active steps like foliage treatment, installing mosquito liquidators, and fogging and misting on a daily basis to ensure the best airport experience for the passengers.”
Additional Municipal Commissioner, Sanjay Deshmukh said, “We had a meeting with GVK and they agreed to take up the responsibility of scheduled fogging and take up measures to reduce the population of mosquitoes.”