A CLOSE LOOK

Mosquitoes stop airliner from taking off

Nilratan Halder | Published: March 03, 2018 00:22:48


One of the tiniest insects, mosquito has many feats to its credit. A poignant story of its lethal power concerns the insects' mission to enter into the brains of Nimrod, a tyrant and disbeliever living in Iraq a long time ago, and his men en route their nostrils to cause their death. The breakout of malaria in epidemic forms across different parts of the world once used to decimate the population at an atrocious rate. Dengue is yet another disease that is taking a heavy toll of human energy and life.

All this is what makes mosquito a powerful adversary of man. But its latest feat is somewhat unique-unique in the sense that the incident staged at Shahjalal Airport, Bangladesh's number one such facility, is unprecedented. The buzzing and biting insect stopped a flight loaded with passengers from taking off for Malaysia. No such thing has ever been reported anywhere in the world except in Dhaka. It was past midnight and passengers were on board the plane. The pilot taxied the plane on to the runway end for the take-off. But by that time, passengers on board started complaining loudly that it was impossible to sit in the plane. Swarms of the blood-sucking insects attacked the passengers.

The pilot had no option but to taxi back the plane to the boarding area. Airport staff came with anti-mosquito spray and their frantic effort could at last persuade the invading army of insects to leave the plane or some of them might have got killed. The plane departed more than an hour later. In the meantime, the passengers had to alight from the plane when the airport staff conducted the spray operation. That means they had to embark twice on board.

It is not the only plane that was targeted for the mosquito offensive. Passengers on board other planes also suffer similar ordeal but they have to stay put with the inconvenience. There are people whose blood is sweeter to mosquitoes than others. This particular species of humankind suffer the most at the hand (nay their blood-sucking nozzle) of mosquitoes. Lately, mosquitoes are on the rampage. They are found making their rounds everywhere-at bus terminals, railway stations, launch terminals and airports.

The Dhaka South City Corporation launched a crash programme against mosquito on Wednesday. This is timely no doubt. The mayor has proved he is alive to the situation and has called for citizen's awareness well ahead of the months when dengue and chikungunya take hold. The mayor makes it a point that an early drive against mosquito will be effective in controlling proliferation of the insects during those dreadful months. But he has called for upping the awareness of the city inhabitants to do their bits to fight the mosquito and the diseases.

Sure enough, the initiative should be replicated in the other parts of the capital and elsewhere under threat of attacks from mosquitoes and consequent diseases. But then it must be ensured that the anti-mosquito drive is conducted efficiently and sincerely. There were complaints in the past that the agents used for the fogger machines were adulterated and it proved ineffective for combating mosquitoes. Insects are becoming more daring so much so that they come swirling in broad daylight. Also they have developed immunity against many of the reagents and spray. All that is needed is to continue research of an advanced nature where the fertility of mosquitoes can be sterilised or their anti-type created for their extermination. Some works in this line have already been completed in different laboratories abroad. Bangladesh can take advantage of such developments because these are environmentally friendly as well.

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