Offenders playing big role in mosquito control

Alicia PereraPilbara News
With the seasons first detection of Ross River Virus, it's important to follow some simple tips to avoid the bite of the mosquito this summer season.
Camera IconWith the seasons first detection of Ross River Virus, it's important to follow some simple tips to avoid the bite of the mosquito this summer season. Credit: WA Department of Health

Adult offenders serving community-based orders are doing their bit for regional health as part of a public health program to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne disease.

A mosquito baiting program from a Department of Corrective Services and City of Karratha partnership, now in its third year, uses the help of Adult Community Corrections offenders to lay baits throughout the City and minimise the number of mosquitoes during the wet season.

DCS and City representatives and up to seven offenders a day spend three to four weeks before the rains arrive laying baits in pools of water and low-lying, often remote and difficult-to-access locations to prevent mosquitoes reaching maturity, and have been busy this year with a particularly wet season forecast for the Pilbara.

DCS Karratha and Roebourne community work officer Laurie Fletcher said he had selected the program because it offered practical benefits for offenders doing community work and for the City.

“I said to them ‘that would be fantastic for us’ because it’s helping the whole community, and we can help them so they get everything into the ground before it rains,” he said.

He said because winds could carry mosquitoes up to 10km from their point of origin once developed, every baited pool of water made a difference. ACC offenders also help make about 1200 bait holders required for the program a year.

The baits stop mosquito larvae from growing in bodies of water and are not poisonous to humans or animals.

DCS Adult Community Corrections Pilbara regional manager Paula Hyde said the public health angle of this program made it an important source of life skills that helped reduce participants’ chances of re-offending.

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