What are the risks?
One does not need a Biology degree to realise that making a whole species disappear cannot be good for the environment. There are just so many things that could go wrong. In fact, we probably all agree that it is in humanity’s best interest to preserve each and every species on this planet.
There is, however, a unique exception to this rule: mosquitoes. Because of the great harm that they cause, the benefits of eradicating them clearly outweigh the disadvantages. Yes, there will always be some uncertainty about the possible ecological consequences of eliminating them, but even in an unlikely worst case scenario, the outcome would still be positive.
How can we be so sure about that? Let’s see the main arguments in favor of eliminating mosquitoes:
We want to eliminate only the mosquitoes that feed on humans.
There are ~3,500 mosquito species worldwide. But just ~50 of them are important human disease vectors.
If they become extinct, less
dangerous mosquito species could easily fill their ecological niche.
Mosquitoes do not seem to be an indispensable part of the ecosystem.
They are part of the food chain and also act as pollinators. Nevertheless, most scientists agree that their role is not essential.
Many other insects are capable of doing the same. Because of this, if mosquitoes disappeared, the environment would quickly return to equilibrium.
The loss of a single species will never be as bad as having mosquito-borne diseases around.
Researchers have followed and documented the loss of +900 different species that were alive less than 500 years ago.
These extinctions have had a negative impact in the ecosystem. But none of them have ever ended up causing as many deaths and suffering as mosquito-borne diseases.
These three points should give a general idea of why the benefits of eradicating mosquitoes outweigh the potential risks. However, this is a very complex issue and there are many other things to consider. So, for a more detailed discussion please visit the Frequently Asked Questions section below.