Opinion: Boston Globe Columnist Examines Arguments Against DDT Use In Uganda

Boston Globe columnist Derrick Jackson examines why some Ugandans do not support indoor spraying of DDT to prevent malaria. Grace Kagoro, a biology professor and environmental researcher at Mbarara University of Science and Technology, is “nervous about adding what she said could be one more shock to the soil and water,” according to Jackson.

Kagoro said, “As much as malaria is a nasty disease, we don’t need the DDT. … They tell us the DDT spraying will be safe. But with all the run-off problems we already have, we cannot know for sure.” As a result of this and related dilemmas, Uganda is a “laboratory for how developing countries deal with old scourges while anticipating new environmental challenges,” Jackson writes.

While the profound effect of malaria “is undeniable,” Jackson cites health experts who say, the government “should focus on getting free nets and supplies of anti-malarial drugs that do not run out, and to engage citizens to eliminate pools of stagnant water around their homes,” according to Jackson.

He concludes: “Lest the fight against malaria and saving the environment become a disaster of competing goals, the rest of the world must go full throttle. A DDT-free world is only possible if we help Africa access the prevention it needs” (Jackson, 6/30). The article is the second part of a two-part series.