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‘Poor waste management worsens dengue menace’

Increasing issues of waste management around the country has been seen to add to the rising dengue epidemic in the country.

“Last year we had 55,000 patients but during the first six months of this year alone, we have surpassed that number.

We are at 65,000 patients at present,” Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), Senior Consultant Physician and dengue expert Dr Ananda Wijewickrama said.

“We had our biggest outbreak last year but since then numbers have been growing at a faster rate,” he said. Over 200 have been killed due to the outbreak this year, he said.

Dr. Wijewickrama said number of cases have been on the rise for several months now but had gone unnoticed among the general public and very little attention paid to arrest it.

The doctor said the outbreak this year had started earlier on, during the dry season in February and March; an unusual phenomenon as dengue is more prevalent during the wet season, “The rains were erratic even during the dry season. So we were starting from a bigger base number this year compared to last,” he said.

“Adding to this issue was the worsening waste management crisis the country is experiencing at present, with waste disposal not happening properly and preventive programmes not being taken seriously by individuals and organisations, the situation is worsening,” Dr Wijewickrama said.

Waste management has been a dire issue around the country with the issue of garbage becoming severe in the areas of Colombo, Hatton, Kandy, Kurunegala, Puttlam, Kalmunai, and Trincomalee among other cities.

The local government authorities responsible for waste management were dissolved in 2015 and are at present run by Commissioners coming under the purview of Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister Faiszer Mustapha.