Chennai Corporation is planning to plant nochi herbs on river banks after the clearing of debris and garbage is completed.

The Corporation has already spent Rs. 6.76 crore for cleaning the banks of Adyar, Cooum and other waterways of the Water Resources Department in a bid to control mosquito breeding. The initiative started on March 18.

So far, 18 major breeding grounds along river banks have been cleared. According to a press release from Chennai Corporation on Wednesday, the adult density of mosquitoes has reduced to 8 in May this year as compared to 40 in 2012. The larval density has also reduced from 6 in May 2012 to 1 in 2013.

Officials of Chennai Corporation attributed the dip in adult and larval density to the cleaning operations of river banks.

Every year, the Corporation spends more than Rs. 5 crore on mosquito control operations. A few months ago, officials from various departments including the agriculture department, held discussions with civic body officials to identify species of herbs that keep mosquitoes away. Nochi plants were finally shortlisted and the Corporation council passed a resolution to procure and distribute them to all the residential properties of 10.71 lakh buildings in the city, free of cost.

The new proposal to plant nochi along waterways is likely to make the banks aesthetically appealing. A large quantity of the plants’ leaves on banks may also facilitate their use by residents.

Distribution of mosquito nets and fogging operations will be other components of the strategy to cope with mosquitoes.

The plants are also expected to reduce environmental damage caused by fogging.

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