'Fumigation for votes harming health'

The competitive anti-dengue fogging launched by the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party in their respective strongholds could turn out to be a threat to the city’s air and add to the toxins in the food chain, warn experts.

In normal circumstances, it is only the civic agencies which fumigate using chemical like malathion however, this year the Congress and AAP have bought their private fogging machines and added to the release of chemicals in the air.

“The city is witnessing three times the fogging that was happening in previous years. All the three parties (BJP, Congress and AAP) are on a fogging overdrive to appease their voters. If they want to appease the parties should provide food and shelter to the needy. But why do they need to give them poison?” said an official with health department.

The chemical mixture of malathion and diesel is sprayed during fumigation which is harmful as malathion, banned in many countries, is permitted by World Health Organisation only in cases of epidemics. “Malathion should be sprayed around the affected areas but the parties have been are conducting fogging in areas dominated by their voters,” added the official.

Environmentalist Gopal Krishna working with Toxics Watch Alliance said that an overdose of everything is harmful. “The threat of food chain contamination cannot be ruled out,” he added.

Even officials of the BJP-ruled civic agencies said that the private fumigation by other parties is adding to the environmental threat.

“The municipal corporations are more careful in carrying out fogging as the mixture should only be sprayed around the affected areas. It’s very harmful for infants, pregnant women, people with asthma and the elderly. So the civic agencies conduct fumigation only when there’s an outbreak of disease,” said an official with a civic agency.

“Also, there is no control over the chemical mix being used by private people under taking fumigation,” he added.

On Sunday last both the Congress and AAP took to streets in selected Assembly constituencies. The AAP had said on Saturday last that it had procured 40 fumigating machines.

On Sunday Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had applauded AAP workers for cleaning Delhi and fighting dengue under ‘Mera Mohalla Mera Desh’ campaign.

“I am proud of AAP volunteers who are helping people fight dengue on the streets of Delhi,” Kejriwal had tweeted.

Even officials of the BJP-ruled civic agencies said some councillors are going overboard with fumigation affecting people’s health.

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