The day temperature climbed to 40.1 degrees Celsius on Holi, the highest maximum in March since 1945, when the day’s highest was 40.5 degrees Celsius. This is 8 degrees above normal for this time of the season. “Mosquitoes prefer warmer environments above 30 degrees. Below 20 degrees, they become less active, becoming nonfunctional below 10 degrees,” a public health official explained. Anopheles mosquitoes, which are primarily responsible for malaria, breed in muddy water outdoor, while dengue-causing Aedes prefer clear water and indoor environments.
The civic bodies claim that domestic breeding checkers (DBC) have so far made 27.9 lakh visits, though, as a corporation official said, the pandemic makes it more difficult to carry out vector-borne disease control. “People are reluctant to let DBC enter their houses due to fear of Covid,” said an official. “Making the work more difficult, many corporation employees have been diverted to anti-Covid work, and duties related to Delhi Master Plan and Swachhta Survekshan.”
Many vacancies for the posts of malaria inspectors, assistant malaria inspectors and senior field worker are vacant hobbling the anti-mosquito exercises. Moreover, the fogging drives have been restricted under order of Delhi Disaster Management Authority because petrol-generated smoke during fogging causes irritation in the respiratory system, thus aggravating the risks about Covid, a public health official added.
The five-year data on detection of mosquito breeding shows that the weekly count peaks between the 32nd and 38th week of the year, with September seeing the highest incidence. An SDMC public health department analysis shows that peri-domestic containers such as money plant pots, vases, flower pots, home fountains, etc, constitute the largest chunk of breeding sites (38%). The report says that domestic water storage containers employed in water-stressed regions account for the second highest (33%) of the cases. Desert coolers and overhead tanks are third- and fourth-biggest culprits.
Meanwhile, AAP blamed BJP-led municipal corporation for mismanagement and corruption behind the failure to control the mosquito menace. Narendra Chawla, leader of the House in SDMC, retorted to the accusation by saying the increase in mosquitoes was due to the inaction of Delhi government’s flood & irrigation department and PWD in cleaning the drains in their jurisdiction.