NEWS

Drones enlisted in mosquito war in western Greece

ELIAS KANISTRAS

TAGS: Technology, Health

Satellites, drones and geographic information systems (GIS) are being deployed as part of an ambitious program to combat mosquitoes in regions of western and southwestern Greece.

The program’s main goal is to safeguard public health from malaria and West Nile virus by monitoring mosquitoes and bird populations.

The effort to prevent mosquito populations from growing is also expected to help the local tourism industry as certain affected areas host large hotel complexes with significant numbers of visitors from Central and Eastern Europe.

The Regional Authority of Western Greece is implementing the program in the areas of Metochi, Kalogria and Araxos in western Achaia, in Varda in Ileia in the southwestern Peloponnese, and Mesolongi in Aitoloacarnania.

According to reports, the program currently employs more than 20 people on a daily basis under the guidance of specialists.

The drones are being used to detect breeding grounds, while the satellites provide images of flooded areas where mosquito populations could increase rapidly.

Moreover, GIS and state-of-the-art telecommunication systems pinpoint the exact location of each crew in order to have immediate access to sample results.

The program will be implemented in western Greece until 2021 as, according to regional authorities, 3 million euros has been earmarked from Greece’s Public Investment Program.

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