With people doing all they could to be ready for the water problem that was predicted for Cape Town, people went to great lengths to keep and catch water.
Little did they know that by doing so they were inviting problems to their doorsteps. Due to stagnant water and open water collections, some areas have seen an increase in mosquitoes
Kevin Rack of Muizenberg Lakeside Ratepayers’ Association (MLRA): Environmental Portfolio, who is also a volunteer at Muizenberg Improvement District: Environment, says they have seen an increase in mosquitoes. “Yes indeed we in Muizenberg/Lakeside/Marina Da Gamma (everywhere there are rainwater tanks) started having mosquito issues when the first heatwave struck around a month ago. I spend a lot of time around Zandvlei conducting litter cleanups and had no mosquito bites until I got home. Then a few of my colleagues complained too so it got my curiosity piqued.
“I lived in Australia for 13 years and the issues of water tanks and mosquitoes is common knowledge, so much so that it’s law that all rainwater tanks are fitted with strainers on all inlets and outlets. It only took me five minutes to realise where the problem lay. So as soon as I opened the rainwater tank lid a huge swarm exited from the tank. Then when I looked into the water of the tank it was dark with larvae,’’ he says.
Now Rack is urging residents to be careful as mosquitoes can be a health hazard. “Please note that mosquitoes do have the ability to transmit disease. Cape Town is clear of many of the major diseases, but due to climate change and evolution, when there is an excess of one species, disease can occur. Let’s not be caught out by the poor management of the drought, but rather be proactive citizens and manage the problem ourselves before there is another disaster.
Below are some interventions by Rack to help the situation. Proactive prevention:
.Water tanks: Seal the lid with gaffer tape and plastic. Use a ball of netting in both the inlet and overflow. If using screens, make sure they are removable.
.Gutters: Make sure there is no standing water in your gutters and they are cleaned of all debris (fire prevention maintenance).
.Pools and ponds: Drain them of all water.
.Bird baths: Change all water regularly. Chemical solutions:
.Do not add any chemicals to water tanks used for drinking water. The best natural way to kill the larvae is to starve them of oxygen.
.Oil: Olive oil or vegetable oil creates a skin on top of the water, starving the larvae of oxygen. Use 1 cup/250ml.
.Apple cider vinegar: A great non-toxic method to kill larvae and can be used as a repellent. Use 15% to 85% water. A weak solution won’t kill larvae.
.Soap: Untested method – a couple of teaspoons of dishwashing liquid.
.Kerosene: One teaspoon of medicinal paraffin or domestic kerosene (not commercial or industrial kerosene).
.Bleach: Do not use
“Be natural and kind to yourselves and the world around you.” Maintenance:
.Inspect the tanks for cracks and leaks.