By Chito Chavez
The waste and pollution watch group Ecowaste Coalition aired its plea for (Ecological Solid Waste Management) ESWM as the nation observes ASEAN Dengue Day today in a bid to increase public awareness on dengue, mobilize resources for its prevention and control, and demonstrate the region’s commitment to tackling the disease.
“Practicing ESWM in every household and barangay will help a lot in depriving Aedes aegypti mosquitoes of breeding spots,” said Daniel Alejandre, zero-waste campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
Dengue virus is transmitted by day-biting female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that breed in clean standing water, especially in places where water collects and with poor drainage and sanitation.
“Carelessly thrown plastic bags and bottles, polystyrene packaging, sachets, snack packs, empty bottles and cans, and other discards can gather and hold water where mosquitoes can lay their eggs. It’s very important to keep our discards properly sorted and managed,” Alejandre pointed out.
“Also, recyclables such as those stored in school, market and community materials recovery facilities should be kept dry and clean so as not to attract mosquitoes, as well as cockroaches and rats,” he added.
The group warned that water storage containers, drums, pails, flower pots, plates under potted plants, cemetery vases, tin cans, tires, rain gutters, ornamental fountains, and other artificial or natural water containers that are within or near places where people reside are natural breeding habitats for Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
To keep the household and community environment free of dengue vectors, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the public to observe the following practical tips:
§ Check your backyard regularly for water-filled containers.
§ Remove trash that can collect and hold water.
§ Recycle or dispose of water-holding containers that are not needed.
§ Cover water buckets, drums, and tanks with lids.
§ Empty and clean water containers thoroughly once a week.
§ Change water in flower vases weekly.
§ Remove water from plates under potted plants weekly.
§ Clear rain gutters of leaves and other debris.
§ Puncture or cut old rubber tires used as roof support.
To get rid of mosquitoes at home, the EcoWaste Coalition also encouraged families to grow basil, catnip, citronella grass, garlic, lavender, lemongrass, marigolds, peppermint, rosemary, and other natural mosquito repellents.
On the other hand, the group cautioned the public from using unregistered insecticides that have flooded the market as these may do more harm than good.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had repeatedly warned household/urban pesticide products (HUPPs) such as aerosol insecticides, coils, and anti-mosquito bracelets and pendants, lotions and sprays, and patches that have not been evaluated by the FDA may pose potential hazards to health and the environment.
“FDA cannot guarantee their quality, efficacy, and safety. Such products are harmful, toxic and may pose an imminent danger to human and animal health,” the FDA stressed in advisories warning the public against the use of unregistered HUPPs.