Use, Disposal and Environmental Challenges of Insecticide Treated Nets
Insecticide treated nets are critical tools for prevention of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases. They have also been demonstrated to prevent nuisance and infective bites from a few other insects. Recently, there has been an increased push by the international community to eliminate malaria and therefore resources have been channelled into higher production and supply of ITNs to endemic areas, thus increasing their presence in the environment. The trend is unlikely to change given that ITNS are still strongly recommended by WHO as part of the methods with which significant reduction in malaria incidence can be achieved. ITNS are available in different physical properties and chemical treatments. Differences in physico-chemical properties do not only confer different abilities of insect bite protection, but they also determine the extent of environmental degradation caused especially when proper disposal guidelines are not followed. Environmental pollution may pose human health risks as well as affecting susceptible organisms within vulnerable ecosystems. Owing to the undesirable effects of treated net associated environmental pollution, there is increasing advocacy for and research in the improvement of these important tools to standards of degradable materials and natural chemicals with little or no effect to the environment. This paper reviews the bednet properties, their use and misuse, disposal and environmental pollution that arises from their misuse and incorrect disposal. To do this, Dimensions scientific research database was queried using predetermined and appropriate search words. Recommendations for changes of materials and chemical treatments are provided.
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