The spike in mosquito menace is much more than a nuisance for V Rishabh, a Class 10 student, who is appearing for his board examination now; it has disrupted his focus, compounding the exam stress. “I have been finding it extremely tough to study due to so many mosquitoes. My study schedules have gone haywire and I’m suffering from sleepless nights, swatting mosquitoes, rather than focussing on the subject at hand,” said Rishabh.
Taking all preventive measures including shutting the doors and windows by afternoon, ensuring that water does not stagnate in toilets and other parts of the house, and even getting a pest control team to spray pesticides in the area have not brought about any respite, added the Anna Nagar resident.
The family is among the scores who have lodged complaints with the Greater Chennai City Corporation. In February, the civic body received 739 complaints of mosquito menace, with Adyar recording the highest (220), followed by Kodambakkam (95) and Anna Nagar (81). It continued in March, too, with Adyar registering 46 complaints before the first week was over.
According to Vanita R, a homemaker from T-Nagar, mosquitoes were never a problem for their neighbourhood – till the past month or so. Since then, there is a swarm of mosquitoes, which is raising concerns among residents like her. “With children and elderly people at home, we are always worried about diseases spread by mosquitoes,” she said.
Like Rishabh, she, too, is not impressed by the measures that the corporation resorts to. “We have seen officials carrying out fogging but that hasn’t made much of a difference,” Vinita said, adding, “Garbage dumping and inefficient disposal have added to the woes.”
However, according to a city corporation official, they were taking more efforts that merely fogging the neighbourhoods, including targeting them at the breeding phase itself.
Night temperature dips in postmonsoon months of January to March, creating a favourable environment for mosquito breeding. As the metamorphosis rate increases, the larva to adult stage speeds up, creating a mosquito menace situation, explained the official, adding that it would reduce as summer sets in.
“We are working to tackle this at the larval stage, by employing robotic machines to remove water hyacinth and clear out the weeds from waterbodies. Work is going on in waterbodies near Madhya Kailash, near Chepauk and Kodungaiyur Canal. In addition, anti-larval spray is being used in storm water drains,” the official said.
But these alone are not enough, he said, pointing out that the public, too, should help in fighting this. “Mosquito menace is worsened by indiscriminate dumping of garbage on waterbodies. We need citizens’ support to tackle this problem,” he said.