Villagers in Maharashtra Show Us How to Beat Zika and Other Mosquito-Borne Illnesses


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The world can take a cue from this village in Maharashtra, which has managed to successfully get rid of the mosquito menace.

At a time when many countries are battling the Zika virus, several villages in Nanded district of Maharashtra continue to drown out mosquitoes through underground soak pits.

drainRepresentative image source:  satpudatiger.blogspot.com

The project first started a decade ago in Tembhurni village in Himayatnagar Taluk. Sarpanch Pralhad Patil initiated the construction of soak pits behind every house. When they started, government funds were hard to come by. So. the villagers pooled in their funds.

The pits are four feet deep and have a cement pipe that has four equidistant holes at the top. A layer of sand under and around the pipe allows the water to percolate slowly into the ground. And so, waste water is drowned out and not allowed to stagnate, while ground water is replenished.

Nanded zilla parishad chief executive officer Abhimanyu Kale decided to replicate the Tembhurni project in 2014 across the district.

“Within a year of all houses getting the new soak pits, the village became free of mosquitoes.Water flowing into the 200 soak pits gradually drains down into aquifers, thereby recharging the groundwater. Our village hasn’t faced water scarcity in recent years,”  Pralhad told The Times of India.

The project is being continued with funds from MNREGA. The zilla parishad plans to achieve similar results in over 1,300 villages of the district.

This model seems to be working. According to the District Health Officer of Nanded, Balaji Shinde, the transmission rate of water borne and mosquito-borne diseases has reduced by 75%. According to reports, he says, “We have done several rounds of surveys through the villages but have not been able to find mosquito breeding sites.”

Featured image source: Flickr/Anja Jonsson

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