City govt plans war on insects
LAHORE: The metropolis will become an insect-free zone once the city government does a general insecticide spray planned soon, said Epidemics Control Officer (ECO) Dr Masood Ashraf on Tuesday.
Mr Ashraf said that since winter was over, a general spray was planned over the metropolis. GOR I, GOR III, Shadman, Ichhra, Bhati Gate and Gowalmandi would be sprayed initially, he added. He said spring was the right time for the spray because it was the insect breeding season.
He said mosquitoes were small but could transmit dangerous dieses like hepatitis, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and malaria. He said the effectiveness of the spray in killing mosquitoes could be weak because the city was so polluted that mosquito offspring had plenty of places to grow.
Mr Ashraf said dirty drains, stagnant pools and filthy places were the main breeding grounds and needed to be sprayed in particular.
He stressed that the general spray was necessary to remove insects and it would begin as soon as funds were approved. He said seven-member teams were currently spraying areas where citizens or nazims had complained of insects.
Mr Ashraf said his teams were short of staff. In the 70s, when the population of Lahore was around 2.5 million, there were 250 spray men, 14 supervisors and four inspectors. Today, for a city of seven million, the district government has 92 spray men, two inspectors and 10 supervisors, and 14 of the spray men are at the head office dealing with public complaints.
Pitras Masih, a supervisor, complained that people were not cooperative when he sent teams to spray their houses. “They say things like the house is being cleaned or food is being cooked, but these men have to travel many miles on bicycles and can’t wait around. In the summer particularly it is very difficult for them to spray houses in 10 different places in the city in a day,” he said.
Munir Hussain Rizvi, chief sanitary inspector, said that the insecticide sprays were important for the public health, but were damaging for the spraymen. “In my 26 years on the job, I’ve seen diseases like Pneumoconiosis, Lung Fibrosis, Pneumonia, skin allergic reactions and breathing problems due to the diesel sprayed as insecticide,” he said.
Mr Rizvi said though the spray men were provided with special masks, they inhaled some diesel fumes at each spraying, which over time caused these diseases. —Staff Report