Environmental Health Group Pitches More Ideas for Anti-Dengue Campaign

An environmental watchdog has put forward more ideas as public and private groups intensify grassroots-level drive versus dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

The EcoWaste Coalition, which earlier pushed for “source elimination” as best strategy to combat dengue, is now proposing a “creative re-design” of school uniforms and children’s clothes as another practical measure to protect kids from mosquito bites.

“There’s a place for our great pool of innovative designers in the country’s fight against dengue. We need protective clothing ideas that will safeguard our children from Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that fly and feed during daytime,” said Roy Alvarez, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We’re calling on our civic-minded designers to rise to the occasion. Please come up with creative, color-appropriate, weather-suitable and affordable options that will lessen children’s exposure to mosquitoes, especially in communities where dengue occurs,” he added.

Alvarez addressed his appeal to the Fashion Designers Association of the Philippines, Fashion Designers Council of the Philippines, Fashion Designers Alliance Manila, Young Designers Guild of the Philippines, Young Fashion Designers Group of the Philippines and other related associations.

Also, the EcoWaste Coalition has proposed a review of the safety aspects of the chemical fogging and spraying operations being carried out by local government units.

“We’ve been seeing well-meaning government personnel conducting fogging and spraying activities that have been proven ineffective in stopping the reproductive lifecycle of dengue mosquitoes,” Alvarez noted.

The Department of Health (DOH) discourages indiscriminate fogging and only recommends it “when there is an impending outbreak (in potential hotspots) as evaluated by the health officers.”

“For the safety of sanitation workers and the community members at large, we urge the authorities to disseminate safety guidelines on the fogging and spraying of chemicals into the surroundings, giving due emphasis to essential precautions and safe alternatives,” Alvarez said.

In addition to being the least effective measure versus the dengue bane, the EcoWaste Coalition is concerned over the potential harm that chemical fogging and spraying can cause to people, especially to young children and the elderly in densely populated places.

The group is likewise concerned with the potential harm that chemicals can cause to mosquito predators and other animals in the environment.

Also, it will be useful for the health authorities to provide safety guidelines on the use of mosquito-repellent coil, cream, lotion and spray, the EcoWaste Coalition suggested.

The group had earlier emphasized the importance of properly managing common household and personal trash in the fight against dengue.

Discarded glass and plastic bottles, tin cans, coconut shells, plastic bags, polystyrene containers, snack packs and sachets should not be simply thrown anywhere as these items can gather and hold water and turn into ugly breeding sites for mosquitoes, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

The group further advised the recycling public to pay attention to how recyclables are stored, ensuring that they are kept dry and clean so as not to attract mosquitoes, as well as roaches and rodents.