Read and Repel

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A newspaper becomes a bug repellent using citronella infused ink.

It may be hard to believe that tiny insects cause over 1 million human deaths a year. But the transmittance of diseases such as malaria and dengue from a mosquito bite can have dire consequences, especially for those with limited resources in developing countries. While high-tech solutions such as genetically engineering mosquitoes to make them sterile are being developed, there is another more natural method that has also garnered attention. Last year in Sri Lanka, over 30,000 people contracted dengue, leading it to be deemed an epidemic. Mawbima, a popular national newspaper in the country wanted to bring attention to the issue and did so by developing mosquito repellent paper. By mixing the printing ink with citronella, the newspapers that were distributed became multi-purpose.   

Although the newspaper has only done one run with the special ink so far, it saw its sales on that day increase by 30 percent and was able to reach hundreds of thousands of people. Mawbima has also used this strategy at bus stops where they have coated large-sized ads with the citronella repellent. By integrating everyday objects and experiences, this strategy has the potential to be applied in a multitude of situations worldwide.

Photo byJ. Ingles-Le Nobel, licensed underCreative Commons.

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