The Greater Chennai Corporation started using drones to fight the mosquito menace. The civic body has taken three drones on rent. The drone is operated by trained pilots sent by the Anna University. The drones are 45 kg in weight and have two tanks. One tank is loaded with three litres of petrol and the other with 10 kg of larvicide.
Drones will be used to spray larvicide in the five major canals and 31 minor canals of the city.
“We will check the larval density in the waterbodies after completing one week of the operation. This will give accurate information whether the move succeeded or not,”
S Selvakumar, chief vector control officer of Chennai Corporation said.
The official added that the field workers were facing some practical problems during the operation like inaccessibility and cable wires.
“Such impediments will be studied and plans will be evolved accordingly over the course of time. After the completion of the 15-day trial, the plan is to continue the project under Singara Chennai 2.0,” he said.
Even though the city has around 230 km of waterways, including rivers and canals, the trial run is being conducted only over 140 km of waterways. The civic body has drafted drones and pilots from the Avionics Department of Anna University. These drones use petrol as fuel and thus have longer air time.
“Although some kinds of mosquitoes do not spread diseases, they create a nuisance. An international study found out that mosquitoes affect the productivity of the employees due to lack of proper sleep. Our plan is to make the city mosquito menace-free,” Selvakumar said.
On June 26, an initial trial run was conducted to test the efficiency of the drones in spraying larvicide, during which the Chennai Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi reviewed the operation.
The civic body said that the move to deploy drones to spray larvicide has been taken to ensure the safety of workers, apart from saving time and human effort. Chennai is the first city in the country to use drones in mosquito control measures, said Selvakumar, adding that civic officials from other cities were showing interest in the project and were contacting the officials here for more details.

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