Mumbai’s swanky airport battles mosquito menace with fish and fog

Mumbai airport’s brand new terminal is battling a mosquito onslaught with guppy fish, mist machines and NASA-certified mosquito death traps, an airport official said.

The hi-tech building boasts plush interiors and art on the walls, but is lined by open gutters and the slow-moving, garbage-choked Mithi river, breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

A range of methods were being used to tackle the insects, including introducing guppy fish in the gutters and other water-logged areas, said Vaibhav Tiwari, a spokesman for GVK-Mumbai International Airport Ltd, the public-private enterprise that runs the airport.

The fish eat the larvae that hatch in the water, before they can grow into adult mosquitoes.

The new terminal, completed last year, is estimated to have cost $2 billion, and covers around 5.6 square km.

Twenty trial models of mosquito-trapper machines certified by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration had been installed and house-keeping staff were using battery-operated electric rackets which electrocute insects caught in their wire mesh.

The airport authorities spent nearly $40,000 on the machines, which emit a gas to attract the female mosquitoes that spread dengue and malaria, news website reported. The mosquitoes are trapped and killed inside the machine with an electrified wire mesh.
A technician also sprays mosquito repellent in the bridges to the aircraft before every departure and there is weekly treatment of all likely breeding places in the terminal, Tiwari said.

The problem was outside rather than in the terminal, with piles of garbage at nearby slums and rubble from construction sights adding to the menace, he said.
Fogging and spraying was carried out at dusk every day to fight back the influx of mosquitoes attracted to the brightly lit airport.

“As a result of all the measures now there has been a significant reduction of this menace. These efforts will continue round the year,” Tiwari said.

Reproduced from: Business Line

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