As water stagnates in potholes and garbage, mosquito menace rises

BBMP Bengaluru City Dengue Governance Health Slums

Nobody comes to clear trash, complain citizens

Citizens in several parts of Bengaluru say the mosquito menace is increasing due to accumulation of  rainwater in potholes, empty vessels and coconut shells. They blame the government for its negligence.

Rajendran Prabhakaran, a social worker and resident of Rajendra Nagar, informed The Observer: “My wife was admitted in the St Philomena’s hospital with dengue two years ago. Dengue cases are rising here due to stagnated water in potholes.”

Valli, another resident of Rajendra Nagar, said: “Last year, my two-year-old son was affected by severe fever. We gave him medicines, but it did not help. On the sixth day, his body became cold. We then rushed to a hospital. There he was diagnosed with dengue.”

According to Valli, whose husband is a driver, they spent almost Rs 15,000 on their son’s treatment. She has lived in Rajendra Nagar for the past 31 years, but  has not seen any BBMP worker coming and clearing the stagnated water and garbage.

Garbage lying on a lane in Nagasandra. Credits: Yukta Mudgal

 “One cannot come out  after 6  pm because of constant mosquito bites. Still not much awareness has been spread regarding dengue. They do not come and apply bleach powder or do fogging in the area.”

The National Center for Vector Borne Diseases Control, Karnataka, had recorded 5,392 cases of dengue till August 31, 2022, with four deaths. 

G. Govardhan, 93, trustee, Bangalore Environment Trust, said: “Coconut shells are very useful items, but throwing garbage outside is our culture. This is, of course, one of the major reasons behind the increase in the mosquito menace.”

 “We have gone from house to house to train pourakarmikas to pick garbage and manage waste effectively,” he added, “but due to corruption, though tenders come, people do not work.”

John Gonsalves, a resident of Langford Road, said: “People are paying taxes but garbage collectors do not come.” Most people give a stipend to the cleaners, but the poor who can’t afford it end up dumping garbage near their houses. This creates a situation where mosquitoes breed when rainwater gets collected. Not only dengue but cholera and fungal infections are also spreading. The government should take the initiative to tackle this problem.”

Selvi, a resident of Ayyapa Garha slum, Shantinagar, said: “There are a lot of mosquitoes during night, but we never caught  dengue, though fever is a common thing.”

The Observer noted that a heap of garbage was lying in front of Selvi’s house. “Nobody from the government side picks up the garbage; we ourselves clean it once a month,” she said.

The Observer saw coconut vendors carrying shells and burning them to heat water. Most coconut shells lying on roads were thrown by the residents living nearby.

Dr Dwijendra Prasad, a senior consultant at Prakriya Hospital, Nagasandra, said: “We have seen an increase in dengue cases from last year, the reason being persistent rainfall and rain water getting accumulated in potholes, plant pots and coconut shells. Wherever there is construction work, mosquitoes will breed. Problems happen when people throw coconut shells and other garbage outside their houses. This breeds mosquito larvae.” 

Putting petrol in stagnant water can help in dealing with this problem, he added.Explaining the spread of dengue, Dr Prasad said: “People only come to the hospital when their platelets are really down and cases become serious. People should take note of symptoms like vomiting, high fever and headache, and prevent dehydration.”

Yukta Mudgal
Trainee Journalist at IIJNM.

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