In rural India, malaria continues to claim the lives of thousands of people. Vector control using DDT (dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane) has been known to lead to several environmental ill-effects. Now T Bhuvaneswaramma, a resident of Chennai, claims to have developed a mosquito repellent that contains only natural materials and not any chemicals. The leaves of the plant Vitex negundo (commonly known as sambhalu ) are dried and powdered. About 100 grammes of broken rice and one litre of water is cooked and left to cool. This solution is mixed with the powdered leaves. Sugarcane waste (baggase) and charcoal powder is added to this dough, which can be made into differed shapes and then again dried in the sun. According to Bhuvaneswaramma, the effect of the repellent can ward off mosquitoes for around seven hours. He adds that since the materials used are available locally, villagers can themselves prepare this repellent.
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