Friday, August 10, 2012

Aerial spraying? Not in my state

Dallas County has just announced that it will use aerial spraying to deal with the county's recent outbreak of West Nile Virus. Nine cases (including one fatality) from the mosquito-borne virus have been reported in the county, which is the most the county has seen ever in a year. Aerial spraying is the release of chemical particles into the air with the intent to kill a particular vector. It was once a popular method of introducing pesticides and herbicides to crops, to rid them of diseases, but it is now heavily regulated and controlled. City officials were very reluctant to agree to the plan until city Judge Clay Jenkins recommended the use of pyrethrin (a mosquito adulticide). To that, I say this- Mr. Jenkins, you are advocating for an unsafe plan that ultimately hurts your county more than it does help it.

From previous encounters with aerial spraying, we know that it is not safe in general. Perhaps the best example of this is the spraying of DDT. Basically, while DDT did its job as a great pesticide, it also harmed the environment by killing many populations, which ultimately ended up causing irreparable environmental damage. Pyrethrin has the potential to also have similar effects when used in large quantities, and it could end up killing the flora and fauna of Dallas. Judge Jenkins clearly doesn't understand what he is doing to the environment, and he needs to reconsider.

Anther interesting point is that aerial spraying to kill mosquitoes has been proven by the CDC to be ineffective. This implies that not only is Judge Jenkins advocating for the use of aerial spraying, but he is also advocating for the use of an ineffective solution to his county's problem. In my opinion, the best solution would be to just wait. Mosquitoes can only continue living as long as they have still water in which to lay their eggs. There has been some rainfall lately. I think that there is no point wasting precious resources in order to accomplish absolutely nothing. Only a small percentage of these mosquitoes carry West Nile Virus, and when the rain eventually stops, many of those that do will be killed. The virus is not always fatal, and wasting resources to deal with this situation just does not make sense, in my opinion. The last point I want to make is one that I hope will reemphasize just how controversial this decision is: the last time Dallas County has employed aerial spraying was in 1966, because it simply has too many negative impacts to warrant its use.

1 comment:

  1. As I read through our classmates blogs, I read an article in Rohan Adiga's GOVT 2306 Blog about aerial spraying for mosquitos in Dallas County. I was recently reading about this issue in the Dallas Morning News and found his blog interesting. Rohan Adiga argues that we should not be spraying pesticides into the air to deal with the county's recent outbreak of West Nile Virus. I agree with Adiga's argument and think we should not be spraying pesticides into the air to kill mosquitos.
    An article in the Dallas Morning News titled, "To spray or not to spray: The West Nile Virus battle" protesters of aerial spraying give many reasons why they are opposed to this method of control. First off, it is unsure how effective the method of aerial spraying is in killing mosquitos and ultimately stopping cases of the West Nile Virus. In a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services it states that ground and aerial spraying are the least effective mosquito control techniques. An argument in the article is that when aerial spraying is effective it does not just kill mosquitos, but beneficial insects who eat mosquitos. Spraying ultimately changes the natural ecosystem of animals in the area that feed on different insects. Many are also arguing that people should just be spraying themselves with insect repellent. A bee farmer in one article argued that the pesticides would kill his bees and ultimately his livelihood. It has also been shown that only 1 in 150 people infected with West Nile Virus develop a severe illness and they are usually already sick and not healthy. In conclusion, I agree with Adiga and believe we should not be spraying poisons into the air to kill insects.