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Cities with mosquitoes: A political ecology of Aedes aegypti’s habitats

Angela Bayona-Valderrama
School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds, UK; ambayonava@gmail.com

Tatiana Acevedo-Guerrero
IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Delft, The Netherlands; Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Center for Development Studies CIDER, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia; t.acevedo@un-ihe.org

Cláudio Artur
Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mozambique; jmatine95@gmail.com

ABSTRACT: Both urbanisation and climate change have been linked to the ecological success of Aedes aegypti. These mosquitoes, which breed in stored and stagnant water, are the primary vectors of dengue, chikungunya and Zika, diseases that have been increasingly affecting populations in the Global South. Addressing this problem requires a wider understanding of habitats favourable to the breeding of Aedes aegypti as they are made and remade in the city. Through interviews and archival work documenting the histories and routines of water storage, this exploratory study examines the formation of suitable mosquito habitats in six neighbourhoods of Maputo, Mozambique. The paper has been inspired by debates on urban political ecology to delve into the transformations that water undergoes once it is stored in and around homes. We document the interrelatedness between socio-economic characteristics (in contexts of unequal urbanisation) with physico-chemical changes of stored water, as it becomes a suitable mosquito habitat.

KEYWORDS: Stored water, habitats favourable to Aedes aegypti, political ecology, Maputo, Mozambique