Mosquitoes thrive in concrete jungle

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The urban milieu is a killing field for many a vulnerable species, but it also helps a few others thrive. While sparrows are losing their habitat and struggling for survival, mosquitoes continue to rule the roost and have been successfully surviving all odds in the city.

“Chennai is growing along with its perennial problems - stinking drains, clogged drainage, polluted water bodies which means more breeding ground for mosquitoes. But, there are no fish and frogs along these polluted water bodies to check the mosquito population,” explains Mr G. Kamaraj, biologist, Guindy national park.

Admitting that the mosquito menace has been a major problem for the last few years, corporation health officer, Dr P. Kuganantham, says that mosquitoes cannot be eradicated without public participation. At present, the mosquito larvae density has reduced and 40 per cent.

Mosquito breeding can be arrested if the public destroy temporary breeding sources like tyres, coconut shells, plastic vessels, cement slabs that harvest water and help mosquito breed, he adds.

“The corporation is yet to study the reason behind the high larvae density over last few years. It could be even due to the prevailing climatic conditions or the insects could have developed resistance to the current drugs. We have changed six combinations of drugs to eradicate them, but they adapt and survive,” a corporation official said.

According to Dr B.K. Tyagi, scientist and director in-charge, centre for research in medical entomology (CRME), Indian council for medical research, there is no proper vector control monitoring system in Chennai. CRME, Madurai, in coordination with Chennai corporation plans to work on ovi traps.

It is a cost-effective strategy in which fresh water dissolved with chemicals is kept in a vessel. When the mosquitoes use it to breed, the chemical kills it and diffuse the eggs before hatching.

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