Saturday, September 17, 2005

Electric New Paper (16 Sept 2005) - THIS choked drain near Lorong 8 Toa Payoh has made residents jittery.

Toa Payoh Lorong 8's Danger drain
THIS choked drain near Lorong 8 Toa Payoh (below right) has made residents jittery.
By Teh Jen Lee
16 September 2005

THIS choked drain near Lorong 8 Toa Payoh has made residents jittery.

With hundreds of new cases of dengue fever being reported every week, their fears are understandable.
The drain is about 600m from Block 227, a current dengue hot spot listed on the National Environment Agency (NEA) website.
Mosquitoes are known to fly up to 800m from their breeding sites.
Receptionist Alleena Ng, 48, contacted The New Paper after noticing choked drains on her way to work every morning.
'I walk by every day and I see a few areas where the drains are badly choked by debris.
'I e-mailed the Environment Ministry twice more than a week ago, but to date I've not received any reply,' said Madam Ng, who has been living in Toa Payoh for 20 years.
She's concerned about her family getting dengue.
She's not the first reader who has complained about choked drains.
The other complaint was from Lorong 7 Realty Park, which was also a dengue hot spot, sometime last month.
Over at Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, Madam Ng said cleaners used to keep the drains near her home free of debris, but not anymore.
'We won an award for cleanliness before, the plaque is still at our void deck. These days, there are vehicles to sweep debris on the road but what about the debris in the drains?
'If this is the state of open drains, what about those drains that are covered up?' said Madam Ng.
She said the drain opposite Block 230 and the drain facing the Toa Payoh Golf Centre are also choked.
She knows of a resident in that block who contracted dengue fever.
The drain between the golf centre and First Toa Payoh Secondary School is the most badly choked, she added.
When The New Paper checked it out yesterday, we saw a drain choked by leaves and debris such as plastic bags and bottles.
The water in the drain was too dirty for us to make out whether there was any larvae in it.
There was also a pile of rubbish near the drain which included a styrofoam box and cups that could easily collect water.
Mr Tan Boon Tian, 56, a hawker assistant who lives near the area, said most mosquitoes come out after sunset.
'Even though we close the windows, my whole family gets bitten. Luckily none of us have got dengue yet.
'But I do worry because I heard my neighbours living above us in my block came down with it,' said Mr Tan in Mandarin.
He showed us scars on his legs where he had scratched mosquito bites until they bled.
When asked if he had called the relevant authorities about the mosquitoes, he said: 'I've heard people say they have complained, but only fogging is increased.
'It doesn't seem to help much.'
His four children, aged 12 to 18, don't wear long sleeves and pants to sleep because it's too warm.
'And we don't use insect repellent because I'm afraid they will forget and rub it into their eyes,' said Mr Tan.
He and Madam Ng think the solution lies in clearing the drains.
Madam Ng said: 'Even if the environmental health officers have treated the water with insecticide, they still have to clear the debris.
'Otherwise, the rain will just wash off the chemical. The heavy downpour recently did nothing to flush away the debris.'
Mr Jeffrey Lee, a supervisor at Toa Payoh Golf Centre, said he had also contacted NEA about the choked drains.
He said: 'We had some complaints earlier about mosquitoes so we cleared all breeding sites within our premises as far as possible.
'We checked the gutters and everything. But this is outside so it's beyond my jurisdiction.'
When contacted, a spokesman for NEA said it had cleaned the drain yesterday afternoon upon receiving our queries.
She said: 'The drain comes under the maintenance of HDB Industrial estate management so we do not have records of previous complaints on the drain.
'No mosquito breeding was detected during cleansing.'

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