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For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Supplied

Manila: A village in the province of Bataan has introduced a novel way of tackling the problem of mosquitoes — by giving locals a reward for the number of insects neutralised.

According to Marcialito ‘Al’ Balan, chairman of the Alion village council, the proliferation of dengue virus-carrying mosquitoes poses a serious concern for residents.

He said they have come up with a scheme where, for every 200 dead mosquitos submitted to them, village folk would get one kilo of rice.

Coming up with proof of the number of mosquitos neutralised is very simple, he said.

“We use dinner plates smeared with cooking oil to take on the mosquitoes. We hold them and move these from left to right,” he said.

Balan added that villagers had used this method to eliminate mosquitos since he was a small boy. He said that now, instead of simply swinging the plates as they did when they were young, the villagers will now have an opportunity to make money out of their efforts.

Balan said that while dengue has so far only infected one person in the village, the community is not taking any chances.

As per the latest figures, the number of dengue patients in the Philippines has reached 188,562 from January 1 to the first week of August. The death toll from complications of the disease has already reached 807 — much higher than the 497 during the same period last year.

Filipinos are employing novel ways to confront concerns over dengue, which is carried by a certain type of mosquito, the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Among these methods is the release of frogs in areas where the insects proliferate and the discharge of the so-called “mosquito fish” in riverside communities and areas where stagnant water collect.

While certain locales are already employing the use of mosquito fish (Gambusia afinis) to control the insects, the University of the Philippines Zoological Society warned against the effects of this method since releasing “invasive species” in the country’s waterways could damage the ecosystem.

“The UP Zoological Society strongly condemns the release of G. affinis as this is a highly invasive organism that affects the ecological balance of the current ecosystem. The species was found to have detrimental effects to Philippine waters by preying on the eggs of indigenous fish and amphibians and competing with other native species thriving in the environment,” the organisation said.

Mosquito fish was introduced to the Philippines by the Americans during the Second World War period to combat malaria-carrying mosquitos.

The World Health Organisation said dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection that cause a severe flu-like illness. Depending on severity, the disease could have lethal complications.