City dwellers have been facing severe mosquito problems for the last couple of weeks, as the two city corporations have failed to take timely action in controlling the booming mosquito population.
Until Tuesday, mosquito control drives in Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) were almost absent due to a shortage of adulticide and larvicide -- chemicals used for killing mosquitoes.
The DSCC also failed to clean the water bodies in its areas in time although the cleaning should have been done well before the season of culex mosquito starts.
Shamiul Hossain Shimul, a resident of Mirpur-13, alleged that he could not sleep at night due to the blood sucking insects.
“I use mosquito repellents, but those cannot ensure relief for a long time. The most disgusting part is when mosquitoes whine near my ears.”
Selimul Alam Mukti, a Mirpur-12 resident, said, “It's very difficult to stay at home without using mosquito coils or sprays. I have to keep the ceiling fan switch on almost all the time to drive mosquitoes away.”
He said the intensity of mosquito infestation had increased over the last couple of weeks.
Javed Akhtar, a resident of Kalshi in Mirpur, said “Mosquitoes are everywhere, be it indoors or outside. Mosquito net is a must if I want to sleep.”
The DSCC, however, started a 10-day crash programme in all its wards from Wednesday to combat the menace. Mayor Sayeed Khokon launched the programme after purchasing 30,000 litres of adulticide a few days ago.
Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) too started a crash programme from Wednesday and the programme would continue until Tuesday.
The DNCC authorities, however, were yet to start cleaning the water bodies under its jurisdiction.
Officials of both the city corporations said if the authorities had taken initiatives to buy the pesticides right after budget, the menace could have been controlled.
Residents of Pallabi, Mirpur, Kazipara, Shyamoli, Banani, Gulshan, Mohakhali, Mohammadpur, Niketon, Uttara, Gendaria, Panthapath, Jatrabari, Dhanmondi, Jigatola, Hazaribagh and Kamrangirchar are among the worst sufferers.
They said a sudden rain a few days ago would intensify the menace, as the number of breeding grounds had increased due to the rain.
The urged the authorities concerned to take steps immediately.
Bijoy Krishno Debnath, chief zonal executive officer of zone-5 of DSCC, told The Daily Star on Monday that they could not conduct regular anti-mosquito drives over the last 10 days due to a shortage of adulticide and larvicide.
There are 15 wards under the zone and there is a shortage of pesticides in all the wards, he said.
Gullal Singh, zonal executive officer of zone-4 of DNCC, said, “We will start cleaning Ibrahimpur Khal and a water body behind Mirpur Bangla College within a few days. Those water bodies should have been cleaned earlier.”
Unclean water bodies with stagnant water were the main reasons behind the rise of the menace, he said.
Gullal said they had submitted their requirement to the DNCC authorities for cleaning water bodies around three months ago, but they got the approval only recently.
A DNCC official, wishing anonymity, said they issued letters to land owners and other government organisations, requesting them to clean water bodies in their areas. However, they did not get any positive response from them.
Finally, they started cleaning the water bodies on their own with the permission from ministries concerned, he said.
A DSCC official, wishing not to be named, said they failed to get the pesticides in time because there were not enough bidders for the first tender floated to purchase the chemicals. That is why they had to go for a re-tender.
They had already started a crash programme after receiving 30,000 litres of adulticide and 4,400 litres of larvicide a few days ago, the official said.
He claimed that they could not conduct regular mosquito control drives as they had only 1,000 litres of adulticide and 100 litres of larvicide.
Regarding cleaning of the water bodies, the official said although they had submitted their requirements to the DSCC authorities in this regard around a month ago, they were yet to get any response.