Sunday, July 31, 2005

Potential breeding ground to produce mozzies for the whole of Singapore !!

Many thanks for the contribution from a concerned resident received today, 30 July:

"Attached is pond/drain between Bedok South Rd & Bedok South Avenue 3, next to Bedok Court Condo & nearby HDB flats.
This pond collects excess water from drains during raining days.
However this pond throughout the year is either filled with stagnant water for about 2 weeks after heavy rainfall or
have small pools of water during dry periods.
I have sent numerous messages to the Ministry of Environment to no effect.
Area is not under its care.
This pond/drain is a seal-off area.
It is a great mosquito breeding ground.
Getting someone to clear off the mud and pools of water every now and then is not a solution as most
of the time the stagnant water is good breeding ground for mosquitoes.

There is no need for this pond with improved drainage in the area.
This pond is a legacy of flooding in the old days.
I suggest this pond should be filled up with soil and turn into a park or playground, etc."

Update from NEA:
"Catchment Pond - Bedok Court Condo (between Bedok South Rd and Bedok SouthAve 3)
NEA carries out inspections regularly on the drains including the above.The drain shown in the photograph in the blog website (located behind BedokCourt/Tanah Merah Kechil Road South) is a catchment pond. The pond which isunder the management of PUB, is built for the purpose of receiving surfacerun-offs from the surrounding area when it rains. The surface run-offcollected in the pond is then pumped into the reservoir, while the siltedwater is pumped out to sea via the outlet drains. Though at times, thewater may appear stagnant on the surface, it moves beneath it. The pumpis activated via a sensor which detects rain. The constant flow of thewater makes it not conducive for mosquitoes to breed at such catchmentponds.Nevertheless, NEA and PUB carry out joint inspections of the ponds toensure mosquito breeding habitats are not present. From our checks on 3 Aug05, we did not find any breedings in the pond.Thank you for your feedback.Regards
M RajendranSanitation and Vector Control
South East Regional Office
The National Environment Agency
DID +65 67404156
Fax +65 67473863."

Public drain along Buckley Road near Pat's Schoolhouse

Take a good look at this photo - taken at 8.37 am, Saturday 30 July 2005 along Buckley Road near Pat's Schoolhouse. You can rear koi fish in there !!!

For more information on the origin of this blog, please refer to my letter to Today which was published, well today, Saturday, 30 July 2005 as extracted below. (For even more details, I'd urge you to click on the link here, Welcome to Dengue Alert - The Fight Against Dengue in Singapore or scroll all the way down to my very first blog yesterday, 29 July 2005).

"Help fight dengue threat via this blog

I refer to the letter by Mr Lim Boon Hee, "Ultimately, it's NEA's responsibility" (July 28).

While the primary responsibility to control dengue rests with the National Environment Agency (NEA), everyone in Singapore has a part to play so that more comprehensive efforts can be made to target all areas of potential mosquito breeding grounds.

To provide a focal point, residents may want to consider taking photos of such potential hazards (stagnant water in drains and fields) and posting them on a blog I have set up at along with the relevant details so that the authorities can take the necessary action.

Alternatively, they can email them to the account detailed in the blog.

We cannot just rely on NEA officials or their contractors to do their job — everyone in Singapore has a vested interest and a role to play to ensure every corner of the country is covered
. "

Public drain near 43 Gentle Road

Another choked drain near 43 Gentle Road, taken Saturday 30 July 2005 at around 10.21 am. In the famous words of NEA officials, the mozzies do not need the area of the Pacific Ocean to lay their eggs, just the area of a 10-cent coin will do!

Within a span of just 5 minutes, at least 5 spots of choked drains have been sighted in the Goldhill/Newton neighbourhood!!

Public drain between Dunearn Rd & Goldhill Rd outside The Learning Vine Childcare (refer 3 Aug update)

Photo taken on Saturday, 30 July 2005 at 10.27 am - the public drain between Dunearn Road & Goldhill Ave - outside The Learning Vine Childcare.

Look at all the leaves choking the drain !!

(Update: refer to 3 Aug post for an update on this drain)

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Welcome to Dengue Alert - The Fight Against Dengue in Singapore

This Blog is dedicated to those who share a vision in ensuring Singapore is safe from any outbreak of Dengue fever as everyone has a part to play.

For a start, if you happen to see any potential spot (be it in public areas - eg drains, fields, etc.. where there is stagnant water, or in private compounds - eg derelict or unoccupied homes with stagnant water, etc..) for the breeding of mosquitoes, please take a snapshot of the spot and post it on this Blog so that the relevant authorities (like the NEA) can take the necessary action. Remember to identify the location of the spot (eg name of road or field, house number, etc).

Alternatively, you can email the photos to me at with the relevant details and I will do the rest.

Remember, each and everyone of you has a vested interest to ensure your loved ones (like your children and spouse, parents, siblings, relatives and friends) do not fall prey to this deadly disease, especially if the potential breeding ground is in the proximity of their residences. So, bring out that camera phone or digital camera and make full use of it !!

For non dengue-related issues, you may want to visit another blog at if you have something to report or comment.

(Note: To give you some background on my vested interest on this issue - my family being victims of the frequent mozzie attacks in my neighbourhood, I reproduce below my letter to the Today newspaper which was published on 24 Feb 2005. Well, it's been almost 6 months since that letter but not only has problem not improved, it seems to have got worse. Lest you get carried away after reading this letter, the reporting of mosquito breeding grounds does not result in any monetary awards:

"Mosquitoes breeding in public places ...

If found, fine responsible govt entities, contractors

While I agree with Mr Lim Boon Hee's view that choked drains in Singapore could well be the main source of mosquito breeding ("Beef up green agency's resources to tackle dengue", Feb 23), I have an alternative suggestion for combating the problem.

As highlighted by Mr Lim, the Government needs to seriously consider another source of breeding, other than private property: All public places — not just the drains.

While there are measures to fine errant property owners, are there similar measures to address breeding in public places?

I had a similar experience of the rise in mosquito attacks in my Newton neighbourhood over the last two weeks.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) found the source of the breeding was the drain outside the property along Buckley Road. Thankfully, the mosquitoes were not of the Aedes strain that causes dengue.

However, the NEA claimed that lately, some of their pest- and vector-control work (including that at the Buckley Road site) is now outsourced, so the responsibility now lies with the contractors to whom the work is outsourced.

The NEA did not divulge if any penalties were imposed on these errant contractors in the Buckley Road case.

I suggest that in addition to the existing deterrent fines on owners of households found breeding mosquitoes in their private compounds, fines should also be imposed on Government entities or their contractors, if breeding is found in public places.

Furthermore, to encourage every resident here to play a part in controlling the spread of dengue fever, those who report such breeding grounds in public places should be given a token reward (perhaps $100 for each first report).

By mobilising all residents, it is hoped that all corners of Singapore will be covered as the NEA's officers — and its contractors — cannot be everywhere all the time.

Is the Government up to the challenge to allow the NEA (or its contractors) to be subject to public scrutiny?")

Of course, on its part, the government must have its fair share of responsibility too. They must especially ensure all unoccupied properties be regularly maintained and inspected to ensure the properties are free of potential breeding grounds (remember, if the owners are not staying in these vacant properties, they are not subject to the dangers of the disease while their neighbours are). Perhaps the NEA should consider stricter deterrent penalties using the "3-strikes-you're-out" system (targeting the recalcitrant offenders) like the termination of the outsourced contractors or the public naming of companies/households if they're caught breeding mosquitoes under their watch or premises respectively at least 3 times within a 3-month span, in addition to deterrent fines as such irresponsible behaviour can result in loss of lives. As performance indicators, all levels of those involved in eradicating the dengue threat, from the Environment Minister right down to the men on the ground, must have their KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) pegged to how successful the menace is contained (certainly the recent increasing trend in the number of dengue cases indicates less than satisfactory performance).

Finally, if fellow Singaporeans and residents have other suggestions on efforts to contain the menace, please feel free to contribute.

Thank you for your civic-mindedness.

29 July 2005