Thursday, March 3, 2011

Are bednets the solution?

Not everyone agrees that bednets should be the main focus of our malaria eradication campaign. This video raises a number of very good points, particularly that the western world eliminated malaria via the use of DDT, a tool we now deny to other countries.

For further reading on the issue of using pesticides such as DDT check out Tina Rosenberg's controversial article in the New York Times: What the world needs now is DDT.

Also, it is interesting to note that even Rachel Carson, whose book Silent Spring sounded the alarm on the environmental dangers of DDT, did not call for a total ban on DDT:

Practical advice should be "Spray as little as you possibly can" rather than "Spray to the limit of your capacity."

Unfortunately because we did the latter we eventually saw environmental consequences and ultimately banned DDT, but only after we had eliminated malaria. Is it right to deny this tool to other countries, even its appropriate use, because we screwed up?

1 comment:

lnicholson said...

It frustrates me that they call it harmless! It is indeed harmful when it's sprayed in mass quantities over the land and bioaccumulates up the food chain. And we shouldn't do that, we shouldn't blanket their ecosystems with DDT it's not even efficient. They said it wasn't harmful to anything but pests. Very clearly untrue.

However, when used sparingly, when used indoors where people are at risk, differently from how it was used here, THEN and only then is it harmless. They seem to be taking the opposite pole of the people promoting only bed nets when the truth lies in the middle. An annoying trend in all public information type things.