LG polls and dengue control
The Government is to amend the
Mosquito Breeding Control Act to give Health Inspectors and
other officials wider power to inspect private premises. The
present Act involves a cumbersome procedure that requires
written permission from the occupants and owners and to obtain a
Magisterial order if they refuse such permission.
This no doubt is a time consuming exercise given the delays
germane to our legal system. By the time court orders are
obtained much damage could ensue.
There is also the possibility of the offending sites being
cleared up by the occupants by the time the legal process is set
in motion nullifying all the trouble. Things no doubt will be
back to square one after the matter is dropped. Health Minister
Maithripala Sirisena has called for the removal of the relevant
sections by amending the Act.
Good as the Government proposal is, the crux of the matter
lay in getting the public to keep a clean environment and
pollution free surroundings. One way this can be done is by
imposing deterrent punishment to the offenders. Inspecting
premises is only one aspect. What about abandoned land and
property that provide sanctuary to dengue mosquitoes?
Today one could see many such lands both in urban and rural
areas overgrown and reclaimed by the elements. These naturally
provide a haven for the deadly mosquito. Action should be taken
to make owners of these lands accountable. Lands and property
that are similarly left neglected should be taken over by the
Dengue has claimed 246 lives in 2010 while the number of
cases reported was 34,105. This shows the extent to which the
epidemic has spread not only due to natural breeding grounds but
also negligence on the part of the public.
Whatever happened to the massive anti-dengue drive we
witnessed some time back where the local authorities and
volunteer organizations went about in a frenzy cleaning up
drains, canals and mosquito breeding sites. Another outbreak has
What is the purpose of the Health Ministry issuing statistics
of Dengue victims if no preventive action is taken to control
the epidemic at the outset? Already we see stagnant drains and
large puddles of water from the intermittent rains which are
fast turning into mosquito breeding grounds.
The garbage problem is, if anything worse than it ever was -
a ready recipe for disease and pestilence.
Here is a golden opportunity for our budding politicians who
are at each others jugular - whether from the same party or
otherwise - today vying for election to the local bodies, to
prove their worth as true servants of the people by taking on
the dengue issue head on.
Instead of wasting their time and energy fighting against
each other they could put their collective shoulders into a
massive anti- dengue drive islandwide by being in the forefront
cleaning up drains, clearing clogged canals and eliminating all
potent mosquito breeding grounds in their areas.
This no doubt will earn them much kudos from the voters
guaranteeing their election to the local bodies. This single act
would also garner for them all the votes they need, more than
the thousands of posters splashed on the walls.
The money used for such publicity stunts could be used for
carrying out anti-dengue campaigns in their wards and localities
bringing them into prominence in the public eye.
The party leaders for their part should recognize such acts
of public service by these grass roots politicians and reward
them by making them heads of the local bodies they are vying
for. This would encourage more public-spirited acts of this
nature on the part of grass roots politicians making them
peoples’ representatives in the true sense of the word.
In the meantime the authorities should get their act together
in the dengue prevention campaign and go all out to eliminate
the sources of the killer mosquito. The flood aftermath in the
North Central Province has made it extremely vulnerable to the
epidemic. Urgent measures are therefore needed to minimise the
The Government it is reported had dispatched medical teams to
the flood affected areas which is the right move. But the
doctors alone will not be able to tackle dengue on their own
without all preventive measures being taken.
Therefore as mentioned this is where those aspiring
candidates for the local bodies can help by identifying the
vulnerable spots and organizing a massive anti-dengue drive with
the help of their supporters. This while providing a worthy
public service will also help avert clashes leading to a violent
free poll in these areas.