By Alexander Villafania
TAGUIG CITY, METRO MANIL A—This school opening, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will distribute 435,000 units of mosquito ovicidal-larvicidal (OL) traps to all public elementary and high schools.
The locally-developed OL traps are aimed to curb diseases carried by mosquitoes, particularly the female specie of the dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti.
Some 45,000 public schools will receive the OL traps in the coming weeks. These will be placed in areas where there are known population of mosquitoes.
The simple-looking OL traps are mainly composed of a drinking cup-like vessel and a strip of lawanit wood. The wood is soaked in a specially-made pellet-water solution made of organic material that attracts female mosquitoes to lay their eggs.
The solution is also an ovicide and larvicide that kills mosquito eggs and larva, preventing them from growing into adults that can carry dengue. The pellet-solution is made of organic material so is non-toxic and is safe for humans to handle.
The OL trap was first introduced by the Department of Sciene and Technology (DOST) in 2010 as an alternative to chemical pesticides that can be toxic to humans.
“OL Traps prevent the larvae from maturing into dengue-carrying mosquitoes, thus we aim to contain and reduce the spread of the disease in places where mosquitoes congregate and breed during daytime, like classrooms,” according to DOST Secretary Mario Montejo.
Montejo added that the DOST has identified 31 priority areas to be the first recipients of the OL traps.
Prior to the school distribution, the DOST has been promoting the OL traps to be used in communities especially in rural areas where there are huge populations of mosquitoes.
The development of the OL traps also came from the growing need to stop the spread of dengue in the Philippines, which happens during the rainy season where mosquitoes find wet and humid places to breed.
Dengue became one of the leading causes of morbidity in the Philippines as of 2005. While it declined in the next few years, outbreaks were reported throughout the Philippines up until 2012.
According to DepEd, there are 5.76 million public school children attending this school year. Of this number, 14 million are in elementary school while another 1.73 million are in kindergarten.