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Hygiene Led Fight Against Covid, So Will it Against Bird Flu

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By Sidharth Mishra

A year after the first anti-Covid advisory was issued by the government, the vaccination drive was launched last Saturday. Even by conservative estimates, the complete implementation of the immunity programme and rise of herd immunity could take the full year.

Thus, as aptly mentioned by some it’s just the beginning of the end. Even as we had started to breath somewhat easy about Covid being reigned in, the country is being threatened by the most devious Avian Flu or the bird flu.

For the past year in our battle against the spread of Covid, improved hygiene has been the most effective weapon. The soaps and sanitizers have been the most piercing bullets in dismembering the virus. For those now looking for ways and means to control the spread of Bird Flu, better hygiene is the only solution.

The death of water fowls from Sanjay Gandhi lake in East Delhi and the National Zoological Park, with flu-positive reports, has caused scare. The news of bird deaths, curb on the sale of poultry products and culling them en masse has been hitting the headlines. But none in the government and the media has cared to find out the condition of water bodies from where there are no reports of any death.

A case in point is the Prasad Nagar lake in the heart of the national Capital. While there has been shutting down of the Sanjay Gandhi lake and other smaller bodies, the Prasad Nagar lake has continued to remain a safe hub. Incidentally, the ‘rejuvenation’ of this lake was done by NGO – Community Friendly Movement in October last year with what they call Vedic methods.

The reading of the report submitted by the body to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on the completion of the project provides for the hygiene keys to rid our lives of the various viruses affecting both the human and the animal lives. 

When the project was started around Mahatma Gandhi birthday last year, the lake was completely covered with algae with dark green Water. The surroundings were enveloped in foul smell of decaying water and the lane had a massive mosquito population.

There were no birds, except for the ducks kept at site by DDA, who were rather reluctant to enter the waterbody. The high viscosity of water leading to an almost still water with zero waves kept the ducks away. Dead fishes floated on the surface.

The water samples were tested in laboratories and found to be highly acidic and also having high content of Coliforms. Coliform bacteria are considered indicators of faecal contamination and, thus, disease causing.

Thereafter, the cleaning of the lake began first manually to clear it of garbage and thereafter the treatment of water using herbal extracts, the immunity boosters, something which has also proved both to be both fashionable and effective in our fight against Covid.

In about a fortnight’s time there was a perceptible transformation and the water samples were again sent for testing. A sea change in the quality was observed with water turning alkaline from acidic and the Total Suspended Solids (TSS) reduced to 60, from the previous count of 348 mg per litre. Most importantly coliform count was amount reduced to negligible.

Incidentally, the same technique is now being used in reviving 108 water bodies in Ayodhya as part of the redevelopment plan and so far, there has been no news of any bird flu related deaths from in and around Ayodhya. The government needs to connect dots, find cure and not go the easy way of culling.         

(The writer is Author and President, Centre for Reforms, Development & Justice) 


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