This summer, swarms of mosquitoes have overrun the Rockaways. It has become such a problem that most residents no longer leave their homes. Charlene Tolliver told the Daily News, “It’s bad — My grandson was bit so many times we can’t let him outside.” While local officials have struggled to do something about the problem, they have been met with resistance from the city. “I put money in the budget for spraying. I even offered to buy a spraying truck if it was mostly used in the district, [but] the city says it doesn’t do so-called nuisance spraying.” said City Councilman James Sanders Jr.
In years past the city has used pesticides without hesitation to reduce mosquito populations, but the current policy is to only spray if the West Nile Virus is detected. This is due in large part to environmental concerns and concern over the health risks associated with pesticides.
The city still sprays larvicide in marshy areas to kill mosquito eggs, but Rockaway locals claim that this isn’t enough. “This is a health hazard and a quality of life issue. We’re in the impossible situation of almost hoping we get West Nile-positive mosquitoes… so they will spray,” Jonathan Gaska, the district manager of Community Board 14, told the Daily News. He concluded, “It’s silly that government is like that.”
As for what this means for all the hipsters flocking to the Rockaways, we await the New York Times response.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 6, 2011