Mosquito spraying/fogging has been carried out through out the world for many years with little successful results. The act of killing virus-carrier mosquitoes with chemicals has brought many unforeseen results.
To these days, many then unforeseen and destructive results have been known:
- Creating super mosquitoes: The use of many chemical insecticides in the past half decade or so has proven just one thing: The nature will prevail over human beings and new species of mosquitoes which can survive stronger insecticides will form by mutation. The next leading role of the movie will be the “super mosquitoes” who are not deterred by chemical pesticides. Then, what’s next? More and stronger toxic chemicals? And the same vicious cycle repeats again?
- Killing and extinguishing of its natural predators: Chemical insecticides/pesticides kill parts of mosquitoes, not all. And it also kills some other species. For example, sparrows, birds, frogs, bats and freshwater fishes could also be killed because of the fogging. And some of them are actually natural predators of mosquitoes as they feed on mosquito larvae. The decrease of the number of natural predators will only increase the number of new breeds of mosquitoes. The flourishing of mosquitoes today is the result of disturbance of natural ecological balance, partly due to fogging.
- Toxification of human beings and animals: The insecticides human beings used are synthetic pyrethroid insecticides, pyrethrins and malathion. And these are toxins. If they are toxic and harmful to mosquitoes, why can’t we understand they could be toxic and harmful to human beings/animals? In many parts of the world, there are hardly any control over the quality and quantity of insecticides/pesticides used in actual fogging. The more we use these chemicals, the more we and our children and grandchildren will suffer. The weaker our immune system becomes, the poorer health we have and the shorter our lifespan will be.
- Destruction of organic lifestyle: This is the time where more and more health conscious people are practicing the life-nourishing organic lifestyle with organically grown local produces. Many governments have also supported and hopefully will draft proper policies in helping the growth of this natural and productive agriculture. Can we imagine how chemical fogging destroys the work of organic plantations? It’s directly going against the balance of nature.
The government officials may or may not understand how ecology and nature works. Acting upon public complaints of mosquito-borne diseases like Dengue fever, Malaria, West Nile fever and so on, they are busy showing the public and media they actually do their job by busy killing mosquitoes, seemingly fulfilling the demand of general public.
Instead of opting for the chemical fogging/spraying, a government which has green/ecology wisdom will:
- Push for green environmental education: Educating public about the impossibility of killing all mosquitoes. The more fogging we do, the more adverse consequences we and our children will face. Educating public on how reducing meat intakes can reduce attracting mosquitoes; reducing the use of anti-biotics for stronger immune system which even upon bitten the body will not be affected so easily.
- Push for ecology education: The environmental department can protect the growth of frogs, sparrows, birds, freshwater fish, bats and home lizards and so on.
- Encourage the use of natural mosquito repellents and other techniques: Growing more plants which crushed leaves can repel mosquitoes like citrosa, lemon thyme, marigolds around the neighborhood. Introducing naturally and organically produced insect repellents and aroma essential oils like Eucalyptus, Cedar wood, and tea tree oils.
- Take better care of the neighborhood environment: Clean up all stagnant dead water, and scattered rubbish which actually helps the growth of mosquitoes breeding. This community-wide mosquito abatement program definitely helps in getting rid of mosquito-breeding sites.
The nature has warned us again and again on how poorly we take care of our surroundings and environments. However, many years of ignorant actions/inactions cannot be rectified by the wrong move of fogging. If we do not wake up to the callings, a red card is sooner than we can expect.
1) The writing is inspired by Mr. Simon Chau, a social and environmental activist, of www.simonchau.hk. The outline of the writing follows his style as it provides the consequences as well as solutions to what human beings can do to help.