15 August 2011

Environmental Watchdog Pushes Source Elimination to Stop Dengue Scourge


The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental health network, today called on the government and the public to go all out for source elimination to beat dengue outbreaks that have afflicted thousands in several hotspots nationwide.

“We surely can reduce, if not wipe out, dengue cases by eliminating all possible breeding grounds for Aedes aegypti,” said Roy Alvarez, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

Dengue fever is caused by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that breed in clean standing water, particularly in places where water collects and where there is poor drainage and sanitation.

“Community-based mosquito surveillance and control, including the enforcement of ecological solid waste management, is a basic element in winning our battle against this health and mortality threat,” he added.

To keep the environment free of dengue vectors, the EcoWaste Coalition, echoing the advice by health authorities and local government units, urged every household to observe the following steps to remove breeding sites around the house and the neighbourhood:

-Cover water buckets, barrels and tanks with lids.
-Empty and clean water containers thoroughly once a week.
-Replace water in flower vases weekly.
-Clear rain gutters of leaves and other debris.
-Puncture or cut old rubber tires used as roof support.
-Remove trash that can collect and hold water.

The EcoWaste Coalition also emphasized the importance of proper management of common household and personal trash in the fight against dengue.

“Discarded glass and plastic bottles, tin cans, coconut shells, plastic bags, polystyrene containers, snack packs and sachets should not be simply thrown anywhere as these items can gather and hold water and turn into ugly breeding sites for mosquitoes,’ Alvarez warned.

"Dry leaves, twigs and mixed trash should not be burned as this will not kill dengue-carrying mosquitoes, but only emit health-damaging pollutants,” he added.

“Please reduce, reuse and recycle your discards instead,” he suggested.

The EcoWaste Coalition further advised the recycling public to pay attention to how recyclables are stored, ensuring that they are kept dry and clean so as not to attract mosquitoes, as well as roaches and rodents.

“Community and school storage facilities for recyclables should be spick-and-span and protected against rain and waste water as they should be,” he said.

Also, the EcoWaste Coalition called attention to proper land management to prevent water from collecting, making sure that pits are filled, drains around taps and wells are running, and canals and esteros are garbage-free and flowing.

To keep mosquitoes at bay, the EcoWaste Coalition encouraged households to cultivate natural repellents such as basil, catnip, citronella grass, garlic, lavender, lemon grass, marigolds, peppermint, rosemary and other wonder plants.

The group further urged the public to plant and nurture trees that provide homes for birds and other natural helpers in mosquito prevention and control.

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