After vector-control failure, civic body looks at new machine to do the trick

The machine mimics human body heat and breathing cycle to attract mosquitoes.

After failing to curb the menace through fogging, the civic body has zeroed in on a mosquito-killer developed using technology backing from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to eradicate the vector.

The BMC standing committee gave the go-ahead Wednesday to acquire the machine, which costs Rs 10 lakh, based on recommendations of National Institute of Malaria Research.

The machine, officials said, traps mosquitoes by mimicking human body heat and breathing cycle, and emitting a regulated amount of carbon dioxide to attract mosquitoes. Once trapped, the machine eliminates mosquitoes.

Despite regular fogging and spraying of insecticides, the civic administration failed to effectively control breeding of mosquitoes which showed up in a surge in deaths from dengue, a mosquito-borne disease, which peaked in 2012. Malaria claimed as many as 40 lives last year.

"The machine produces sound waves that attract mosquitoes. The technology is green and does not require harmful chemicals to operate," said standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale.

Additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar said the technology would be used in addition to the other techniques employed by the corporation to control vector-breeding.

According to officials of the public health department, mosquitoes are attracted to the human body when it exhales carbon dioxide and produces heat.

"The system releases carbon dioxide attracting mosquitoes and traps them," a senior health official said. MNS corporator Sandip Deshpande said a presentation on the new technology should have been made before passing the proposal.

"Before tabling the proposal, the municipal administration should have made a presentation clearly explaining this machine to standing committee members," said Deshpande.

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