A Big Step Forward towards a DDT-Free World
Countries move toward more sustainable ways to roll back malaria ahead of Millennium Development Goals
4th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UNEP-Linked Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
Geneva/Nairobi/Washington DC, 6 May 2009 - The United Nations Environment Programme and the World Health Organization, in partnership with the Global Environment Facility, today announced a rejuvenated international effort to combat malaria with an incremental reduction of reliance on the synthetic pesticide DDT.
Ten projects, all part of the global programme "Demonstrating and Scaling-up of sustainable Alternatives to DDT in Vector Management", involving some 40 countries in Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and Central Asia are set to test non-chemical methods ranging from eliminating potential mosquito breeding sites and securing homes with mesh screens to deploying mosquito-repellent trees and fish that eat mosquito larvae.
The new projects follow a successful demonstration of alternatives to DDT in Mexico and Central America. Here pesticide-free techniques and management regimes have helped cut cases of malaria by over 60 per cent.
The success of the five year-long pilot indicates that sustainable alternatives to Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane (DDT) are emerging as cost effective solutions that may be applicable regionally and globally.
The Integrated Vector Management (IVM) strategy promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) provides the framework to include these measures in combinations of interventions adapted to differing local circumstances.
Allied to measures such as improved health care, monitoring and education the findings could set the stage for meeting the twin aims of achieving the health-related and environmental Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 while also ridding the world of the persistent organic pollutant DDT.
The initiatives come amid long-standing and growing concern over the use of DDT and evidence that in many countries there is increasing mosquito resistance to the pesticide.