Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Possible Solution to the Zika Virus Risk for Jamaica for the NSWMA (mainly)

The idiots who run the NSWMA are the ones who placed us at risk for the CHIK-V and now ZIK-V. They cut out communal receptacles and implemented kerb-side collection. As an Environmental Health officer, I will now put forward why that increases the risks of mosquito breeding. The Aedes aegypti mosquito has a flight range of up to 100 metres, some literature put it at 65M max, for our purposes, let's leave it at 100. Communal receptacles are what we call 'skips' or dumpsters and they are to be placed at central locations within an area. Kerb-side collection is collection of garbage from individual receptacles at each house. Now, think about how that is executed: the garbage truck drives up to each home, a man comes off and picks the receptacle up and empties it into the truck - tedious and time-consuming and the truck has to make many stops. Communal receptacles at a central location throughout various points in the community strategically located results in the garbage being handled by the workers in a more sanitary manner if they are implemented properly.

We all know that the NSWMA has issues with trucks and reliability and funds to maintain the trucks, as a result, garbage has been known to go uncollected for weeks - months in some cases. So, uncollected garbage at each home puts the members of that household in a position where there is proliferation of potential (and actual) mosquito breeding sites. Had the garbage been placed at a central receptacle outside of the flight range of the Aedes aegypti mosquito breeding of these mosquitoes would be less likely and people would therefore be less likely to be bitten and control would be a lot less of a problem. Additionally, we would now have only a few places to clean up whereas with the kerb-side collection, each household has a garbage issue.

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes unlike many other mosquitoes prefer human blood upwards of 95% of its blood is from humans - therefore they are considered one of the most 'domesticated' mosquitoes on earth. Other species such as its cousins Aedes albopictus and Ae. medio-vittatus are not as selective, Ae. albopictus rarely being seen with more than 75% human blood and the Ae. medio-vittatus (Tree-Hole Mosquito) having less than 50%. There are other mosquitoes such as the Culex quinquefasciattus, C. negripalpus, C. corniger, C. mediator and C. janitor all of which are found in Jamaica are less picky and bite pretty much anything with blood that moves (species of Culex are known to spread heartworms in dogs).

But I digress...

Problem: kerb-side (house to house) collection of garbage; it has its pluses and is what is used in most 'developed' countries as a means of collection. It is fancy and ideal for the householder but it is not what we must adopt solely because it is used in developed countries - that should never be a reason we adopt anything. These countries use such methods because they are in a position to fund it - Jamaica is not!!! This method puts each household at risk of mosquito-borne diseases especially since the trucks don't work that well and garbage often goes uncollected for weeks on end. It is better to have the garbage piled-up in one location outside the flight-range of the Ae. aegypti than have many small piles of garbage at each premises.

Solution: Go back to a central receptacle, at strategic locations in the communities ideally outside of the flight-range of the mosquitoes, people will eventually start using them. This reduces maintenance costs on the trucks due to less wear and tear as a result of constant stopping, the trucks wouldn't need 3 to 4 workers all lifting heavy loads at frequent stops. Couple this with Public Education, and we will see the billions saved - you can thank me later.