As part of its to control the spread of vector-borne diseases following the first monsoon showers in the city last month, the civic body has geared up to take strict action against buildings that are found to be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
In June alone, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) sent 2,284 notices to housing societies, corporate houses, institutes and under-construction buildings for allowing mosquito-breeding despite receiving an intimation to check it.
The notices have been issued under Section 381 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, which allows the BMC to impose a fine of Rs 2,000-Rs 10,000 on the offenders. In May, 1,440 such notices were issued.
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“With rains setting in, more areas can become possible breeding spots for mosquitoes,” a civic official said.
According to the BMC data, K-East ward (Andheri East) received the maximum number of notices (234), followed by M-West ward (Chembur), which got 199. While 66 breeding spots for Anopheles (malaria-spreading mosquito) and 10 for Aedes Aegypti ( dengue-spreading mosquitoes) were found in K-East ward, M-West ward had 24 Anopheles and 29 Aedes Aegypti breeding spots. In July, the civic officials have found a total of 593 breeding spots for Anopheles and 388 for Aedes mosquitoes across the city.
BMC officials say the total count of Aedes-breeding sites could be higher since it has so far conducted inspections only in public spaces. Private places that have feng-shui plants, flower pots, fish tanks and petri-dishes are expected to breed an equal number of Aedes mosquitoes.
As opposed to Andheri and Chembur, C Ward (Chandanwadi) received the least number of notices (15) followed by B ward (Byculla) with 20 notices. H-East and H-West (comprising Bandra and Santacruz), which cover an area as large as ward C and ward B, received considerably higher number of legal notices for non-compliance of the MMC Act. H-east (Santacruz East) ward received 91 notices and H-West received 48 notices.
While the BMC is responsible for monitoring public spaces, the onus of preventing mosquito-breeding in private spaces lies on the respective owners.
On June 1, BMC had distributed caution notices to all under-construction buildings, asking owners to follow necessary steps to prevent mosquito-breeding in and around their construction site. Simultaneously, a dos and don’ts notice was also given to residential societies, institutes and offices.
“The legal notice is issued when private owners fail to keep their premises free of breeding spots even after a reminder,” said Dr Rajan Naringrekar, insecticide officer at BMC.
According to Naringrekar, controlling breeding spots in slums has by far been the biggest challenge. “It’s difficult to conduct inspections in wards with several slum pockets. Breeding spots can be found on blue tarpaulin sheets, drums and even in unused tyres,” he said.
Wards such as G-north (Dharavi), K East (Andheri East) and M-West (Chembur) are known to have a huge area under slums and thereby higher number of breeding spots.
Dr Padmaja Keskar, executive health officer at BMC, said, “We are holding monsoon camps and sensitization programmes for everyone to prevent mosquito-breeding. Dengue and malaria can only be controlled with public participation.”