I READ the news on dengue but somehow they failed to catch my attention. What finally made me stop, read and listen was a Facebook post from environmentalist lawyer and friend Ipat Luna. She sounded off the alarm that in her home province of Batangas that the Mary Mediatrix Hospital head told her that Lipa's hospitals are filled to capacity due to dengue and gastroenteritis.
She found it incredible that Aedes egypti mosquito eggs are more viable in non biodegradable containers. They can hatch up to after two years after from the time when containers dry up until the onset of the next monsoon. Meaning, now.
Ipat's point was on the proper of disposing our solid wastes. She said that the mosquito has a habit of laying eggs on the walls of the breeding device. Spreading these devices could mean a mechanism to increase dispersion and density. Ipat emphasized the importance of sending non-degradable trash, such as plastic, glass, rubber and others, to proper destiny.
Proper destiny is of course neither in Bacolod City's drainage system nor as much not in landfills. But those exactly are the lodging places of our solid wastes in the absence of waste segregation facilities even in the heart of the city. Bacoleños are paying the piper for City Hall's egregious neglect on implementing RA 9003, otherwise known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
Look at these figures. Just like Lipa, Bacolod's private hospitals ran out of rooms because of the high dengue incidence. The Doña Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital admitted 1,184 patients from January to August 13, with 11 deaths. Of the number of patients, 700 came from Bacolod City.
We have several months to go before the monsoon ends. And we have to contend with La Niña which seemed to have bypassed Bacolod this week. It has been a hot last week in Bacolod.
But that's nothing to celebrate. In fact, heat waves correlate with an increase in incidence of tropical diseases as well. Dengue transmission is largely confined to tropical and subtropical regions, since cold temperatures kill the mosquito's larvae and eggs.
Warming raises the biting and reproductive rates of mosquitoes and prolongs the breeding season. Warmer temperatures also shorten the time it takes for malaria parasites inside mosquitoes to reach full maturity.
On a global scale, more rainfall in certain areas and warmer temperatures overall provide optimal conditions for mosquitoes-which spread the virus that causes dengue-to breed and expand into new territories.
By 2085 climate change will put an estimated 3.5 billion people at risk of dengue fever, the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said last March. And Bacolod is one of the leaders toward that direction. Another is Iloilo City that recently declared a state of calamity due to steep rise of dengue cases of 144 percent compared to last year.
There is little that our local governments can do about global warming. But it can do a lot if our City Halls use their common sense and honest-to-goodness prioritize the implementation of RA 9003.
Otherwise they will end like cats chasing their tails, of trying to solve the dengue but failing to address its root causes. Like Hydra's head, even if hospital cure the patients, the heads of tropical diseases will just keep on cropping up in the absence of proper ecological solid waste management.
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