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‘Clear drains to prevent mosquito larvae breeding’: SDMC to civic agencies

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has expressed concern over proliferation of water hyacinth, floating garbage and silt in drains and water bodies in areas under their jurisdiction, citing them as obstacles in spraying insecticides to kill mosquito larvae breeding in them.

Additional Commissioner (Public Health) of SDMC, Ramesh Verma, has written to all agencies that own drains and water bodies — DDA, PWD, CPWD, DJB and the Flood and Irrigation Department — in this regard. The letter dated May 14 asks all of them to urgently remove vegetation, floating trash and silt from drains, ponds and lakes for “effective action of insecticides.”

South Delhi has 246 drains with a total length of 164.38 kms. Officials said the drains with a major problem of hyacinth and floating garbage here are: Najafgarh drain that runs from Haryana border to Okhla, the Barapullah drain, Pankha Road nalla in Janakpuri, Taimur Nagar nalla, Chirag Dilli drain and a drain that runs along the Saket court.

Several ponds that have dense habitation around them and become dumping grounds for locals with ample floating garbage on the surface, include the Shamsi Talab, Aya Nagar pond and Ghitorni lake.

A senior public health official with SDMC, who did not wish to be named due to the Election Code of Conduct, said, “The mosquito that breeds in drain water is not the Dengue-causing Aedes Aegypti or Malaria-inducing Anopheles, but the nuisance-causing Culex. Aedes and Anopheles prefer fresh water. The Culex bites but does not have a history of spreading diseases in Delhi-NCR.”

“At the same time, we are worried about Culex in Delhi because it is definitely responsible for causing several hundred cases of Japanese Encephalitis and Filariasis in Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Migrants from these areas are always coming to Delhi for work opportunities and there is always a chance of these diseases arriving in Delhi too with them, via the Culex,” he said.

According to the directions of the National Green Tribunal as well, the local civic bodies are responsible for controlling mosquitoes in all sorts of drains and wetlands, even if their control rests with the DDA, PWD, CPWD, Forest Department or Flood and Irrigation Department.

Another officer in the same department said floating garbage and hyacinth on drains create “ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.” “They hide in the covers and the insecticide does not even reach them. We spend lakhs of rupees every year on spraying chemicals like BTI (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis), Temephos Emulsifier and Diflubenzuron to kill mosquito larvae in drains and dirty ponds, but the drops just stay on the floating garbage or hyacinth. Excessive usage of these medicines is also an environmental hazard,” he said.

The letter by SDMC Additional Commissioner Ramesh Verma says, “The season of mosquito-borne diseases has already started and high density of mosquito breeding has been reported from many localities. For effective breeding control, removal of hyacinth, floating filth and silt is urgently required. We request you to take immediate action.”

First Published:
May 17, 2019 21:46 IST

Source: HindustanTimes