More help for town councils in fighting rats

More help for town councils in fighting rats
These are no tunnel rats. They are in your face and they have invaded HDB flats, with some even breaching the defences put up by families and shopkeepers.

To root out and prevent rat infestations in housing estates, the National Environment Agency (NEA) will provide more help to town councils, said Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu yesterday.

It will advise town councils on the hiring of pest control operators to eliminate rodents infesting bin centres and refuse chutes, and on the maintenance and management of these areas to cut off access to food sources for rats.

This is on top of an existing Rat Attack Programme, which started in 2005 and which requires town councils to "pro-actively detect rodent activity and reduce the rodent population", she said.

Giving an update about the rodent situation in Singapore in response to a parliamentary question from Dr Teo Ho Pin (Bukit Panjang), Ms Fu said they are necessary as "rodents have adapted well to our urban environment and multiply quickly in poorly-managed bin centres and refuse chutes".

Food left behind by people who feed birds and stray cats and dogs also contributed to the problem, she added.

Last year, the NEA received 4,000 reports of rodent sightings, 1,000 higher than the year before.

In the same year, it conducted more than 140,000 inspections in a pre-emptive move against rat infestation, said Ms Fu.

Since 2011, it has been conducting inspections of public areas to identify potential food sources, areas where rats may hide, and burrowing activity.

Ms Fu said that the NEA regularly inspects food outlets and shopping malls to make sure they have taken measures to guard against rat infestations.

This article was first published on Mar 6, 2015.
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