It is true that dengue is on the decline. We have to thank the health authorities for conducting a vigorous campaign for stopping the spread of the deadly disease which has already taken 225 lives (The Island, 5th August) this year since January. The decline in the rainfall is the other cause for the downturn. However, the fact remains that the rains will come again with another wave of dengue and we must be ready to contain it before it takes many other lives, especially of many innocent children.
The situation can be significantly controlled if we pay a little attention to our immediate environment. Having at least three containers for collecting polythene products, paper and kitchen waste can go a long way in keeping our gardens clean. Many of us might consider this classification process a hassle, but it makes life easier because it regulates the otherwise haphazard process of throwing garbage. For example, many of the innumerable plastic products like polythene bags, various polythene packs, used ballpoint pens, shaving appliances, powder packs, various plastic cans etc., find their way to the swelling garbage heap in the garden, which is either burnt or left for days to serve as dengue breeding places, both of which are harmful in two different ways.
By simply keeping a separate vessel for collecting plastic items which swamp our domestic life will bring immediate relief to the eyesore of indiscriminate polythene stacks at random places in and out of the house. Various wastepaper items also can be collected separately without being dumped along with the biodegradable waste like leftover food, which will ultimately reduce the daily home garbage to a small heap which can be left to decay in a compost pit. What disrupts this simple process is our habit of letting plastic items mix with kitchen waste. The polythene and paper items easily collected in different containers can be deposited at collecting centres maintained by the local authorities, and it is the responsibility of every Pradeshiya Sabha to open and maintain such collecting centres. This will at least prevent our gardens from becoming ugly and menacing polythene fields and help contribute towards maintaining a clean fresh atmosphere by minimizing the burning of waste. If we start this now we don’t have to panic when the rains come.
Susantha P. Hewa