- - Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Robert Novak and Paul Driessen are correct in topping their list of things that people “need to do” now to stop the spread of mosquito-borne diseases with the suggestion we “[d]estroy mosquito-producing sites” (“It’s not just the Zika bug,” Web, April 3). Unfortunately, they fail to mention two of the most obvious and effective actions everyone can take for accomplishing this. First, just stop littering. Second, clean up the existing roadside litter now before the mosquito-breeding season begins.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the Zika virus and dengue, yellow and chikungunya fevers needs only the smallest amount of standing water to reproduce. Our advantage is, as Mr. Novak and Mr. Driessen point out, they rarely fly “farther than 80 feet from where they hatch.” The mosquito’s key advantage is our littered roadsides, which provide multiple breading containers (cans, bottles, plastic bags, tire fragments and anything else that can hold water) every 10 feet or less. Our discarded trash provides the perfect transmission belt to nearly every farm and neighborhood in our nation.

Next time anyone is feeling the urge to toss something out a vehicle window, they need to remember that such an simple act can cost them more than a fine. It is increasingly likely to come back and literally bite them (and thousands of other people) with a painful, debilitating or deadly disease. The economic cost will be astronomical.

Check with your local government and adopt a road to keep trash-free. The exercise will do you good.



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