ILOILO City’s Mayor Jerry Treñas stresses the importance of keeping the surroundings clean – a basic strategy to avert an outbreak of dengue. He is wary of a possible surge in cases. Two simultaneous disease outbreaks – we have the current coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic – could strain hospitals.
The city government is on the right track with its cleanup campaign against dengue. In fact, all local governments and the general public must embrace ecological solid waste management as a practical strategy to address the dengue scourge. Practicing it in every household and barangay will help a lot in depriving Aedes aegypti mosquitoes – the vectors of dengue – with breeding spots. These mosquitoes 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 is very important to keep our discards properly sorted and managed. 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.
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 to places where people reside are natural breeding habitats for Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
Households and communities must make sure their surroundings are free of dengue vectors. How? Check the 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.
The bottom line here is public cooperation. Local governments alone cannot keep their areas dengue-free. This is a community effort.