More rat burrows plague S'pore

More than 26,000 rat burrows were discovered across Singapore in the first half of this year, with 90 per cent found in housing estates, reported Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao yesterday.

Compared with last year, the average number of rat burrows discovered each month was slightly higher this year added the newspaper, quoting data from the National Environment Agency (NEA).

The average monthly measurement was used in the absence of year-on-year comparison, said Zaobao.

NEA also said it received 3,600 cases of feedback concerning rats in the first six months of this year, while 4,000 were received throughout last year.

Responding to queries from the newspaper, NEA pointed out that it has been working closely with land owners, town councils, building managements and food shop operators in tackling rat infestations in housing estates, which lie beyond its purview.

Basically, NEA shares information from its surveillance for rat burrows with the respective stakeholders so that pre-emptive measures can be taken, it told Zaobao.

But NEA said it will step up efforts to ensure that all the detected burrows in housing estates are treated.

Introducing its Rat Attack programme into housing estates, NEA said it could take action on town councils found to be negligent in hygiene management.

It is understood that so far no town council has been punished for such an offence, said Zaobao.

Rat Attack is an island-wide surveillance programme introduced in 2011 to detect signs of rat activity in public areas.

NEA also told Zaobao that it has revised the programme to shift its focus from burrows to treating poorly managed garbage collection centres and rubbish chutes in housing estates, as rats now favour such places.

A cleaner in Bishan told Zaobao that he would often find two to four rats in a rubbish chute.

Bishan resident Bridget Low, 67, said: "At times, I see seven to eight rats and they give me such goosebumps. I will flee as I am scared."

Another resident, Jovian Tang, 37, a salesman, said many of the drains near his flat are lined with rat burrows and sometimes, he sees as many as five rats scampering around.

Mr Tang said he has complained to the authorities, but there has been no improvement.

"The problem seems to have worsened since I moved here two years ago," he said.

NEA said it conducted 75,000 inspections on food retail establishments in the first half of this year, and more than 100 enforcement actions were taken against errant premises owners.

Get MyPaper for more stories.