Jahangirnagar University urban planning Professor Akter Mahmud said that the effective measure of controlling mosquito would involve destroying breeding spots.
Akter, also vice-president of Bangladesh Institute of Planners, said that as the local government agencies, the city corporations, failed to curb the spread of aedes mosquitoes, it lead to the outbreak.
He said that both city corporations in Dhaka were responsible for the failure of controlling the mosquito menace which now spreading dengue fever.
This year Disease Control Division of DGHS alerted the authorities about the looming crisis but the city officials did not pay heed until the disease infected thousands of people and killed dozens across the country.
‘City Corporations started to make a move only after they were faced with public criticism,’ he said, adding that not realising their responsibility is a crucial issue.’
Every year, the city corporations were allocated a handsome budget though which to take measures to purge the city of all kinds of mosquitoes. But this year, several thousand people had come down with dengue fever within a short duration of time, before it dawned on them that not much has been done to eliminate mosquitoes.
He emphasised on massive cleanliness campaigns everywhere in the city. The private or government houses, where water creates stagnation after rain and facilitates mosquito breeding, should be our target.
He observed that the government owned buildings and other public buildings including schools, hospitals and rail and bus stations were in more likely to have breeding spots.
Government should set an example first by cleaning its establishment and encourage people to follow their footsteps. But the real picture was that the government agencies and public establishments are dirtier than ever, he observed.
Government should go for a massive public awareness programme to even reach up to the individual level to carry out a yearlong campaign to destroy mosquito breeding spots, he said.
He also demanded that in-depth research and data accumulation on the issue should be considered first so that the government could set the right plan of action.
He said that poor management of waste was also responsible for the mosquito menace as the city corporations could not collect 40 to 50 per cent solid waste generated in the city daily.
He proposed a road monitoring officer for each area who would take actions towards mitgating such public sufferings by cleaning wastes, freeing footpaths and taking action against illegal grabbers.
This year, the situation became more acute as the mosquito spray was allegedly below standard. The officials who were responsible for checking the quality of the insecticides should also be made accountable, he said.
‘They either lack efficiency or are involved in corruption in the process,’ he said.
The urban planner suggested that the government should carry out elaborate programmes across the country at different levels involving cleaning, spraying, awareness building and monitoring.
He said that prevention was better than cure, so government should take a policy decision that it would not give any scope for mosquito breeding as part of its drive to ensure a clean urban environment.
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