It is a missed opportunity not to require the government to perform stricter checks on imported car tyres for stowaway tiger mosquitoes. This was the reaction of Arnold van Vliet, biologist at Wageningen University & Research, to a court ruling. Yesterday, a judge ruled that stricter checks are only allowed if the use of tyres can be proven to give rise to danger for consumers.
According to the judge, this is not currently the case. The case was brought up by the platform Stop Invasieve Exoten (‘Stop Invasive Exotic Species’) to force additional measures against companies that import tyres. WUR biologist Arnold van Vliet agrees with the platform: all available methods should be used to avert the coming of the tiger mosquito.
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‘It is a vicious little critter. The chances of contracting a dangerous disease, such as the Zika virus or dengue through this mosquito are very small’, explains Van Vliet. ‘But it is also simply a mosquito that causes nuisance. In the Netherlands, we are used to mosquitoes that bite and drink while we sleep. The tiger mosquito is also active during daytime. We have to take every possible measure to prevent it from settling here.’
The platform’s actions against tyre importers as not as weird as they may seem at first. Tiger mosquitoes hide in the tyres and travel along to the Netherlands and other European countries. They lay their eggs in the tyres that have still water. The importers already take precautions to prevent exotic mosquitoes, but according to Van Vliet, these could be even stricter.