Virtual Environmental and Humanitarian Adviser Tool – (VEHA Tool) is a tool
to easily integrate environmental considerations in humanitarian response. Field Implementation guidances are useful for the design and execution of humanitarian activities in the field.

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VEHA - Field Implementation Guidance

Water supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion (WASH)
Vector control
Vector control
Chemical control of vectors at settlement, household and personal levels

Chemical control of vectors at settlement, household and personal levels


Environmental factors causing/contributing to the needs and affecting the humanitarian activity

Climatic factors affect vector population and breeding. For example, with warmer temperatures vector populations may increase because vectors that are cold-blooded do better in a warmer environment. Also, meteorological factors affect the incidence, transmission-season duration, and spread of vector-borne diseases. In addition to this, human activity can facilitate vector breeding with water storage, mining, deforestation, and poor waste management.

Chemical control can generate pollution and environmental degradation that may intensify environmental health risks and create harmful living conditions for the affected population and host communities. Pollution of the water, soil, and the air is a threat to human health and wellbeing and exacerbates poverty and inequality. Pollution also affects animals and plants, thus degrading natural ecosystems and their ability to provide essential natural services and resources for society. The economic burden of pollution is significant, and the cost of rehabilitation of degraded environments is often prohibitive. Similarly, while biological control avoids chemical pollution of the environment, there may be operational limitations and undesired ecological consequences if the impact of the environment modification is not well defined and the method is poorly calibrated. Biological control methods are only effective against the immature stages of vector mosquitoes and are typically restricted to use in large concrete or glazed clay water-storage containers or wells.

Gender, age, disability and HIV/AIDS implications

Some sections of the community will be more vulnerable to vector-related diseases than others, particularly babies and infants, older people, persons with disabilities, sick people, and pregnant and breastfeeding women. Identify high-risk groups and take specific action to reduce that risk. Take care to prevent stigmatisation.


Environmental impact categories

Loss of biodiversity and ecosystems
Soil pollution
Air pollution

Summary of Impacts
Summary of potential environmental impacts

Soil, air, and water pollution due to uncontrolled use of chemicals.

Impact detail
Detailed potential environmental impact information

Uncovered standing water, stagnant water, or wastewater provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other disease vectors. Contaminated water can drain into streams and other surface or groundwater, which may then be used for washing, cleaning, cooking, and bathing, increasing the risk of further pollution or disease spread. Waterborne zoonotic microorganisms present perhaps the greatest risks to the safety of ambient water and drinking water.

Eradicating vectors through the use of chemicals is impractical and could result in significant damage to the environment by disrupting food chains and ecological balance


Summary of environmental activities

Awareness-raising in removing standing and stagnant water

Awareness-raising about harmful and ineffectual chemicals

Training in alternative vector control

Detailed guidance for implementing suggested environmental activities

Provide awareness-raising about how disease vectors multiply in standing water. Promotion of identification and covering or removing standing and stagnant water.

Awareness-raising about how chemicals harm the environment, killing helpful bacteria and microorganisms and damaging whole ecosystems. Awareness-raising in how chemicals offer very limited ineffectual control of disease vectors and how covering or removing standing water, sweeping hardstanding areas, and use of soap are both usually more effective

Training in alternative vector control methods, such as hand washing, covering all standing water, use of vinegar or lemon juice for natural antibacterial household cleaning

Training in the very limited use of chemicals for cleaning biohazardous materials only or disinfecting wounds

Lessons Learnt
Lessons from past experiences

Sewage is another name for wastewater from domestic and industrial processes. Despite strict regulatory control, the UK’s Environment Agency data shows that the water and sewage industry accounted for almost a quarter of the serious water incidents in England and Wales in 2006.

Activity Measurement
Environmental indicators/monitoring examples

Chemical control operation has a safety plan and Staff and/or community members know how to use it.
Sensitisation messages on chemical vector control proper use and management are developed and promoted at household and settlement levels

Activity status
Main Focus
Focus of suggested activities

Prevention of environmental damage

Mitigation of environmental damage

Resource implications (physical assets, time, effort)

Time taken for awareness-raising in removing standing and stagnant water; raising awareness of how chemicals are typically ineffectual in vector control; training in alternative environmentally sustainable vector control methods.

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