Responding to the Zika threat that has now reached Malaysia and Singapore, the EcoWaste Coalition today urged the country’s 42,036 barangays to improve community waste management to keed Aedes mosquitoes away.
The dreaded Zika virus, as well as dengue and chikungunya, are transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito from Aedes genus, mainly Aedes aegypti in urban areas and Aedes albopictus in rural areas, according to a Department of Health (DOH) advisory.
“Our barangays can contribute to keeping the country Zika-free by ensuring the ecological management of discards, which can collect water and serve as breeding containers for Aedes mosquitoes,” stated Noli Abinales, President, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Garbage bins, discarded beverage and food containers, used tires and even bottle caps can hold water where Aedes mosquitoes can lay eggs,” he said.
To prevent the breeding of the Aedes mosquitoes, the DOH has time and again emphasized the need to frequently check and remove stagnant water in our homes and communities, Abinales noted.
“The Barangay Solid Waste Management Committee in tandem with the Barangay Health Committee should take the lead in ensuring that discards from households, business establishments and other generators are not recklessly disposed of to reduce mosquito larval habitats,” he said.
Local government leaders, particularly the mayors and the environmental and health officers, should encourage and support the barangay-led public information and cleanliness drive against Zika virus infection and other mosquito-borne diseases, the group said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “proper storage, collection and disposal of waste are essential for protecting public health,” adding that “the basic rule of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ is highly applicable.”
“Efforts to reduce solid waste should be directed against discarded or non-essential containers, particularly if they have been identified in the community as important mosquito-producing containers,” the WHO said.