In what is said to be the first-of-its kind project in India, the Andhra Pradesh government wants to use modern technology to tackle the mosquito menace in the state.
The "Smart Mosquito Density System" proposal, sent by the state government to the Ministry of Urban Development for approval, suggests the use of optical sensors to track the density, gender and species of mosquitoes before eradicating them, The Times of India reported.
The state also wants the Centre to provide funds for the implementation of the project in three of its cities, i.e. Vijayawada, Vishakhapatnam and Tirupati, in order to prevent vector borne diseases like chikungunya and dengue.
As part of the project, which will cost around Rs 4 crore, 1,850 sensors will be installed across 185 sq kilometres of the three cities, the report states.
These sensors will be placed on electricity poles and will record the density, gender and species of mosquitoes in a particular area. The data will then be sent to a central database and a control room application will create heat maps of mosquito density. This will be used by government agencies to determine the locations to use sprays and what kind of sprays to use.
"The system will help us take appropriate measures to contain breeding mosquitoes and eliminate them," K Kanna Babu, director of municipal administration of Andhra Pradesh government, told TOI.
"The measures to check their breeding at exact location and that too with the right sprays for a particular species will help save wastage of resources. Real time data will help the local governments to be pro-active on tracking spread of vector borne diseases," he added.
The Government of India's National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme works for the prevention and control of six vector borne diseases- Malaria, Japanese Encephalitis, Dengue, Chikungunya, Kala-azar and Filaria.
According to the World Health Organisation, vector-borne diseases account for more than 17% of all infectious diseases, causing more than 1 million deaths annually.
Malaria alone causes over 6,00,000 deaths every year globally, with most victims being children under the age of 5 years.
Many of these diseases can be prevented through protective measures.