Most of the police station compounds in Dhaka city, used as dumping grounds for seized vehicles, have turned into the breeding hotspot for Aedes mosquito, the carrier of dengue virus, according to a Prothom Alo finding.
The vector-borne disease, spiralling out of control, has infected more than 50,000 people so far across the country.
Visiting five police stations in the capital, two correspondents of Prothom Alo on Sunday found out dense mosquito populations and larvae on the premises of the stations.
Following the instruction to keep the police station premises clean, the authorities cleaned most of the areas except the stands for seized vehicles.
Incidentally, the vehicles, discarded tyres, helmets, coconut shells, old shoes and other abandoned containers are ideal vessels for rainwater. These places become breeding grounds for Aedes mosquito.
The Communicable Disease Control (CDC) unit conducted a survey in 14 areas of Dhaka from 31 July to 4 August. The surveyors found Aedes larvae in 20-60 per cent containers at the compound of Rajarbagh Police Lines.
Senior entomologist of World Health Organisation (WHO) Bhupender Nagpal told the media in a press conference on 5 August that Aedes mosquitos breed in the water accumulated in the vehicles seized by the police.
“If everyone spends just one hour in a week to clean up one’s own surroundings it’s possible to stop dengue,” he added.
Inspector general of police (IGP) Javed Patwary instructed all the police stations to keep their compounds clean in order to stop Aedes breeding, assistant inspector general (AIG-Media) Sohel Rana told Prothom Alo.
The Prothom Alo correspondents visited Dhanmondi, Paltan, Khilgaon, Mirpur and Sher-e-Bangla Nagar police stations only to find ideal breeding spots for Aedes mosquito.
The vehicle stand for seized cars is located inside the Dhanmopndi model police station compound. There were four personal transports along with three CNG-run auto-rickshaws and more than 50 motorbikes kept in the dumping station. Lots of wastes and piles of electric wires were dumped here and there. Also, water was accumulated in oil tankers of wrecked motorbikes and footrests of cars and CNG-run auto-rickshaws.
Though, the inspector (drive) Ashfaq Rajib of the police station claimed the premises are cleaned regularly.
The picture was no different in Paltan model police station dumping ground. Discarded old shoes, helmets, cars and coconut shells were found filled with rainwater with larvae in them.
The drains were found clogged and disposed water bottles were floating in the water at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar police station. Eight seized cars in which water was accumulated were kept in the compound.
Incidentally, one of the deputy assistant inspectors and a driver were infected with dengue in July, according to the official of Sher-e-Bangla Nagar police station.
Inspector (Investigation) Mohammad Abul Kalam Azad told Prothom Alo that they clean the premises and spray mosquito repellents and insecticides on their own.
Due to ongoing construction work the water stagnation in the drain could not be fixed, he added.
Mirpur model police station, however, was found cleaner in comparison to other police stations visited. But there were water accumulated in seized cars with adult mosquitoes flying around.
However, as many as 12 members of police at Banani police station have suffered from dengue in one and half a months. Six of them are still undergoing treatment.
According to Rajarbagh police line hospital, more than 1,800 policemen and their family members were treated in the hospital so far. A total of 77 patients were found undergoing treatment on Sunday.
Prothom Alo, meanwhile, have contacted with 25 police stations. There was no case of dengue infection found in Ramna, Shahbagh, New Market, Airport, Khilgaon, Bongshal, Darus Salam, Hatirjheel and Pallabi police stations. At least 50 people were infected with dengue in remaining 17 police stations. Banani police station tops the list.
A constable of Paltan police station who has recently been infected with dengue fever told Prothom Alo that mosquitoes bite in daylight at the police barrack.
The correspondents, visiting the barracks in Paltan and Khilgaon police stations, found there were beds for seven to eight people in one room. There were not enough places to keep their belongings.
Another police constable said, they sleep in daytime after night duty.
“We become too tired to set the mosquito net at the time,” he added.
*This report, appeared in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat