By Chito Chavez
With the national dengue alert warning raised by the Department of Health (DOH), environmental group EcoWaste Coalition has prodded local government units (LGUs) and the public anew to ensure that discarded materials, especially those that can hold water, are properly disposed of to prevent the disease from becoming an outbreak.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday declared the first-ever national alert against dengue “to raise awareness among the public, and more importantly in communities, where signs of early dengue increases are evident.”
From January 1 to June 29, the DOH recorded 106,630 dengue cases, including 456 deaths, throughout the country, which is 85 percent higher than the 57,564 cases reported during the same period in 2018.
The Quezon City-based group called on all local leaders down to the barangays “to see to it that discards are properly managed to deprive Aedes aegypti mosquitoes of breeding sites such as stagnant water in the surroundings.’’
“Reckless disposal of anything that can store water such as discarded tires, cans, bottles, plastic bags, and snack packs can serve as a breeding ground for Aedes aegypti,” the Zero Waste advocacy group said.
“If not kept dry and properly maintained, mosquitoes can also breed in recyclable materials that we sort and collect at home, store at school, market, and barangay material recovery facilities, and even those we send to junk shops,” the group added.
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes can also breed in water storage containers such as tanks, drums and pails without covers, in flower vases and in plates under potted plants, in rain gutters and in other artificial or natural water containers, the group said.
To rid Aedes aegypti mosquitoes of breeding spots, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the public to take these preventive steps to heart: frequently inspect and remove stagnant water in your household and neighborhood, get rid of discards that can collect and hold water, recycle or dispose of water-collecting containers that are not needed, keep recyclables dry and clean, change water in flower vases weekly, flip the flowerpot plate to remove water, cover water pails, drums, and tanks with lids or mosquito-proof mesh, empty and clean water containers thoroughly once a week, clear the roof gutter of leaves and other debris so that pools of water do not form, and puncture or cut old rubber tires used as roof support to avoid collecting water.