SEARCH BLOG: ENVIRONMENT
In a recent exchange in Economist View, a young lady from Harvard named "anne" provided these words of wisdom in the middle of a debate about the use of DDT versus mosquito netting to control malaria in Africa:
The argument (that DDT is more effective than netting in controlling malaria) is comical, of course, but mosquitoes are many species and almost astonishingly adaptable and interestingly enough ecologists would be delighted to be rid of them for ecologists find them a rare creature for which nothing good can be said though they do what they do impressively indeed. But, when ranters rant about environmentalists who the heck cares to pay further attention.My response was:
anne,For further reading, check out Dr. John Ray's post... 2nd of 3 on December 28 (Australian date).
I see that you are logged in as "email@example.com" so you are obviously bright. However, your responses are often not well thought through.
As "Movie Guy" indicated, the use of DDT is not only very effective against mosquitoes, but it is being considered for use again in areas of high malaria rates.
The idea of mosquito netting is fine, except that it requires a great deal of education and persistence. It might be a good secondary measure against mosquitoes, since not all mosquitoes are infected with malaria. However, to clear an area where there is a high incidence of malaria, an effective insecticide is most effective. DDT is the best and can be safely applied in a lower concentration than thought effective in the 60s.
Furthermore, while mosquitoes are a nuisance and can be deadly, they are part of the food chain and your statement: "ecologists find them a rare creature for which nothing good can be said though they do what they do impressively indeed" is just plain wrong.
The possibility of genetically modifying the particular type of mosquito that carries malaria (or yellow fever or west nile virus...) would result in a healthier environment while maintaining the food chain. But certain "environmentalists"... and I use the term with derision here... react without thinking to that concept as well. They are indeed comical in a grisly sort of way when one contemplates the unintended consequences of their arguments.
Additional reading suggested by Dr. Ray: