Aerial raid on mosquitoes

Published: Saturday 15 February 2003

-- Bangladesh is planning to conduct an aerial raid on mosquitoes, which are attacking cities in droves. Larvicide will be sprayed from helicopters on an estimated 20 million insects. The country considers the pest its enemy number one. Be it slums or government offices, mosquitoes make their presence felt with their high-pitched drone. One was even sighted recently buzzing around the head of a foreign military leader as he held audience with Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. The launch of the campaign has been delayed, as Dhaka is currently experiencing poor visibility due to misty conditions.

Some critics deride the whole exercise as a waste of money. They contend that Bangladesh is a haven for mosquitoes, given the pools of stagnant water all over the country. Any aerial campaign would, therefore, cause only minor casualties in their ranks, they argue.

The planned air offensive has already run into difficulties on who should foot the bill.Both the cash-strapped Dhaka City Corporation and the government are reluctant to dip into their pockets. There are also health concerns. It is felt that humans may be taken ill after breathing the poisonous larvicide. Pregnant women and babies are considered especially vulnerable. Some entomologists have warned that harmless insects such as butterflies and bees could become victims of the assault.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.