The Torrevieja City Council has had to rush through an emergency programme of fumigation in the last week of all the Infant and Primary schools in the town following a “brutal” outbreak of mosquito larvae that has occurred in the municipality.
In some schools the fumigation was carried out at the end of last week but has had to be repeated again this week.
Mosquito infestations are common in Torrevieja, with large areas of salt marsh and hundreds of stagnant pools where rain water tends to accumulate, but this spring has been especially volatile with school lessons disrupted and sports activities cancelled.
Residents in many urbanisations adjacent to La Torretas are unable to hang out their washing and it is completely impossible to take the family pet out for a walk unless you wish to be relentlessly bitten by swarms of the parasites.
The Councilor for Health, Diana Box, says that she fully understands the complaints of residents and explains that the fumigation service hired by the City Council is working constantly to tackle the problem. But she qualifies by explaining some aspects of how far municipal services can go.
Legal restrictions on the use of larvicides and insecticides are now greater than ever. “The use of aircraft that many people ask for is a thing of the past,” she says.
Box also highlights the numerous private breeding sites of larvae such as common areas of urbanizations and swimming pools that are not maintained, in which the municipality cannot intervene. “After the last intense rains and the heat, we anticipate spraying all the public areas of the municipality that are likely to be outbreaks of larvae but we cannot get into the private areas.
It should also be noted that the fumigation must be done very early or by giving prior notice so that there are no people in the vicinity when we are spraying”.
Such is the desperation that, the City Council has received authorization from the residents of Las Torretas to be able to act in its interior streets, which are not municipally owned, after residents of these urbanizations threatened to demonstrate in front of the town hall to demand council action.
“In San Luis next to la Mata park we cannot go out due to the mosquitoes,” said Torrevieja based Randi Veines. “The previous fumigations have not provided the result we all expected.”
“We will have to find a way to be more effective in the future. It is impossible to lead a normal daily life in these conditions,” said Rodolfo Carmona from Torrevieja.
“Myself and my son were almost ‘eaten alive’ by mosquitoes when we went out shopping,” said Aroa Serrano Saiz.
Much of the criticism is aimed at the speed the vehicle that is carrying out the fumigation spraying travels, as it is said to travel too quickly.
Torrevieja resident Elidia Martinez said: “It’s okay for the authorities to spray – but they go too fast – spraying goes behind the vehicle and does not get the result needed.”
Pilar Rodriguez echoed the point, adding: “If you just smoke the edge of the pavements and interior of grounds and parks is that going to help? No.”