*** ----> The buzz about mosquitos | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

The buzz about mosquitos

By Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood

What do the glamorous Italian city of Naples, the cultural capital Chennai, the icy wastes of Finland, and now the hot, summer-baked desert city of Manama have in common?

Bzz-zz! I’ll tell you. Mosquitos. Tourists to these places and now, residents throughout Bahrain are caught by surprise by the relentless drone of these winged bloodsuckers.

Often we think of mosquitos as denizens of the jungle or tropical swamps around cities like Kolkata and Mumbai or African towns.

To find ourselves slapping our arms and legs as the bites begin in our cosy Riffa or Muharraq garden and even bedroom, is a shock.

It is a danger that our municipal councilors warned us of even last year but sadly, they had so often raised the alarm for other needless issues that we simply did not take them seriously enough.

And now, Bahrain is grappling with a serious mosquito problem.

This is a complex matter – it is not just about spraying vegetation (very scant in Bahrain) or stagnant water bodies (almost non-existent, especially in summer) with pesticide to destroy mosquito breeding spots.

The problem is these days, mosquitos are jet-setters.

They stowaway in the cargo hold of airplanes and in imported vegetables and exotic plants and adapt to the arid climate of Bahrain.

Luckily for us, we have not seen any uptick in cases of malaria or dengue or awful mosquito-borne diseases such as chikungunya.

However, this may well be the lull before the proverbial storm and we must take action before we are overwhelmed by health issues of greater magnitude - did you know that nearly 608.000 people died of malaria annually?

The fact is spraying pesticide is just one small action in an array of treatments and often, it is subverted by the mosquitos adapting biologically to the pest-control chemical.

We have to be aware of the impact of our lifestyle choices on climate change and environment for a lasting impact.

Those plastic shopping bags, disposable water bottles, disposable diapers all add up to landfills of plastic which sit on our Earth’s surface and trap moisture and humidity in their creases – enough for mosquito larvae to thrive.

They don’t need a pond or a river. Just a half teaspoon of water is enough to keep the mosquito boom in your neighbourhood going.

Let us help government and make sure we too nip the mosquito menace in the bud.


Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Tribune and the President of the Arab-African Unity Organisation for Relief, Human Rights and Counterterrorism