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By Tara Carr

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, March 27) – Cook Islands Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Dr Terepai Maoate says if a better alternative to chemical spraying can be used to get rid of mosquitoes, then it should be used.

The minister and health secretary Dr Roro Daniel have discussed the contents of the informative articles and letters by Andrew and Melinda Ponga and others regarding dengue fever and possible non-toxic methods of mosquito eradication.

Dr Maoate has instructed Dr Daniel to examine the feasibility of introducing non-toxic alternatives to fog spraying. One of these is using larvicides.

"I believe there are some merits to the suggestion made by Andrew Ponga of using larvicides and I have asked Dr Daniel to look into this further and whether it would be feasible for us to employ this method of mosquito eradication," says Dr Maoate.

The minister is keenly aware of the concerns that have been expressed about fog spraying and the possibility of harmful long term effects.

"If we can introduce a non-toxic method that will work successfully, then we must pursue that avenue. We must examine all alternatives, especially those methods that are not harmful to humans and our environment," he says.

Dr Maoate has written to Mr. and Mrs. Ponga thanking them for their well-researched information and for taking a proactive approach towards a community problem.

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