The Delhi government will launch a month-long intensive fogging drive across the city on Thursday to make it “free of mosquitoes”, the carriers of chikungunya and dengue virus.
Chief Ministern Arvind Kejriwal, soon after returning from Bengaluru, had spelt out the roadmap in this regard by calling for a “war” to exterminate mosquitoes. He had ordered the procurement of fogging machines.
Accordingly, the drive will begin with 200 fogging machines and by September 26, 600 machines will be deployed, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told a press conference here.
“We will make Delhi mosquito-free,” Sisodia said.
“Although fogging is the job of the municipal bodies but we will supplement their efforts since it is a period of crisis. We have prepared a comprehensive plan according to which fogging will be undertaken in each and every lane of Delhi every alternate day,” he said.
But experts have time and again highlighted the pitfalls of excessive focus on fogging which they say does not achieve anything more than producing a feel-good effect among people, as it hits only the adult mosquitoes, “and not the larvae that are the source of breeding”.
However, Sisodia assured that the fogging programme would be conducted according to World Health Organisation guidelines.
“Medical experts suggest that direct inhalation of diesel fumes (that fogging emits), combined with insecticides, can exacerbate asthma or bronchitis among those with respiratory ailments. Pregnant women, small children and old people are most susceptible to aggravation,” a report prepared by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) says.
“We do not wish to get into why the primary duty of prevention of vector-borne diseases and cleaning of garbage did not happen despite all funds having been released before time and repeated meetings,” the Deputy CM said, in a veiled attack on the BJP-ruled civic bodies.
Following a period of blame game with the three corporations, the Aam Aadmi Party has been running a campaign, ‘One Delhi’, to mobilise people towards fighting the vector-borne diseases that have claimed at least 34 lives.
Sisodia was flanked by PWD Minister Satyendar Jain, whose department has been tasked with procuring the machines.
The dhalaos, where garbage of an area is gathered before being carried to the landfill sites, are “overflowing”, Sisodia said, urging the municipal bodies to ensure they are regularly cleaned.
“The municipal corporations should also ensure that silt from the sewers is removed immediately after cleaning. The cleanliness drive should be in tandem with the fogging drive,” he said.
Kejriwal, on September 18, had stressed on the need to tackle the mosquito menace on a war-footing, cutting across political affiliations, in view of the dengue and chikungunya outbreak.