The Public Works Department (PWD) buildings across the city house maximum mosquito breeding sites among all government premises, data from insecticide department of the civic body has revealed.
According to the data, of the 436 breeding spots of malaria-spreading Anopheles mosquitoes found until July-end this year, at least 150 (34 per cent) were found in PWD buildings, while 67 breeding sites were found in buildings owned by the Western Railway, including railway stations and staff quarters. Together the PWD and Western Railway properties account for 50 per cent of Anopheles mosquito breeding spots in Mumbai’s public spaces, the data states.
Malaria is a water-borne vector disease transmitted by Anopheles mosquito that breeds in stagnant water. The water accumulates in construction pits, potholes, open drains and roadsides. Since June, with advent of south-west monsoons, the civic health department has recorded 920 malaria cases in government hospitals and dispensaries. Even as malaria has reduced by half since last year, when 1,958 cases were recorded between June and August, it continues to account for the maximum vector-borne infections.
Mumbai records more malaria cases than dengue, leptospirosis and H1N1 combined.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) conducts regular fogging exercises and surveys to destroy Anopheles mosquito breeding. “But lack of awareness about preventing mosquito breeding is a regular problem. This year we are witnessing heavy rains and a dry spell for a few days. Such an environment becomes conducive for mosquito to breed,” Dr Rajan Naringrekar, BMC’s insecticide officer said.
He said the government departments must ensure they drain excess water and cover drains.
A mosquito larvae takes a week to mature into an adult mosquito, hence water must be drained off every week to break the life cycle.
Of 23 government departments inspected between January and July, MHADA buildings and Central Railway premises account for third highest breeding spots after Western Railway and PWD buildings. Common breeding spots are rooftops and open drains running near buildings.
Zero mosquito breeding was recorded on the premises of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation.
Few mosquito breeding sites were also found on the airport premises — at least five sites — including both international and domestic terminals, besides Mazgaon Dock (22 sites), Mumbai Port Trust (16 sites) and BSNL-owned buildings (17 sites).
Notices under Section 381-B of Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act have been issued to all these departments. The section, which is punishable for encouraging mosquito breeding, can attract a maximum fine of Rs 10,000.
Spokesperson for Mumbai International Airport Limited said the airport has a monsoon preparedness plan, while all drains are frequently checked for waterlogging, employees kept on standby duties for monsoon contingency, and coordination is maintained with BMC to keep the area free from water stagnation.
Last year, BMC found 765 mosquito breeding sites across government buildings, with six found in the airport.
State PWD buildings, Western Railway and Central Railway accounted for maximum breeding sites. Properties of central PWD department had fewer mosquito breeding sites as compared to state PWD.