People, Environment

Pest Control & the Blame Game

Pest Control & the Blame Game Pest Control & the Blame Game

Advent of summer reminds most people of long vacations by the beach, but for the denizens of the Iranian capital it also means something else: whiteflies and the unending blame game some officials love so much. 

The irritating insects have besieged Tehran every summer for the past three years and have sparked a war of words between relevant bodies in the capital regarding whose responsibility it is to combat the swarm of whiteflies.

“If we don’t plan ahead, they’ll take over the city again this year,” says Yahya Ebtali, deputy head of the Plant Protection Organization, according to ISNA.

The official said the PPO has already made provisions, such as preparing yellow sticky cards and pheromone traps, in a bid to help the campaign to end the recurring nuisance.

“We have everything the Tehran Municipality needs to tackle the problem head-on,” Ebtali said, adding that his organization’s sole responsibility in the fight against whiteflies is supplying the necessary equipment.

“The municipality has to make preparations as early as possible — before it’s too late.”

However, the municipality insists that it is not entirely responsible for addressing the problem.

“We’re willing to cooperate with other relevant organizations, but combating the swarm of whiteflies is not our responsibility,” Mojtaba Abdollahi, a deputy at the TM, told Mehr News Agency. 

He asserted that the PPO, Agriculture Ministry and Plant Pathology Research Institute have to be at the forefront of the campaign.

This is while last year, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf accused the DOE of not doing enough to combat the problem.

“The municipality helps ministries and departments with their responsibilities, but it is not our duty to do their job for them,” he said last October, stressing that dealing with whiteflies is the responsibility of DOE.

In response, Mohammad Hadi Heydarzadeh, head of Tehran’s DOE office, cited Article 20 of municipality rules and said, “Combating and controlling pollution of any kind, including a swarm of whiteflies, is indeed the responsibility of the municipality.”

While the precise source of the pest problem is still unknown, some have attributed the rise in their numbers to global warming, while others have suggested that the bugs may have piggybacked to Tehran on imported ornamental plants.