Sunday, October 30, 2005

Letter in Today (29 Oct 2005) - Drains in S'pore just do not drain

Drains in S'pore just do not drain

Thorough review, redesign needed for sustainable efforts in fight against dengue

Letter from Jeffrey Ho Loon Poh

I refer to Channel NewsAsia's report, "More than 1,000 mosquito-breeding sites found during 6-week carpet combing exercise" (Oct 27), which noted that "the main problem areas were drains … And PUB has checked 300km of drains and started work on 10km that require minor repairs".

.One of the reasons why so many of the public drains are favourite spots for collecting and retaining stagnant water is because they are almost level, without any gradient to allow for drainage (hence, the drains in Singapore are a misnomer because they don't drain!). I have taken some photographs at various locations to illustrate my point.

.The drains along Chancery Lane and Gentle Lane are debris-free, so the only reason there is stagnant water is because the water doesn't drain.

.The greatest irony is the entry ramp to the PIE from Adam Road (coming from Farrer Road), where the engineers who designed and built this stretch of drain intentionally "levelled" the drains along the otherwise naturally sloping ramps.

.Is it any wonder why so many of the drains are potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes? I believe it is imperative that any dengue measures must be sustainable and not one-off during outbreaks only.

.Currently, to ensure stagnant-water-free drains, various town councils and agencies have to deploy hundreds of workers to clean and flush them regularly.

.This is not an efficient way to optimise resources, notwithstanding the fact that such jobs create employment.

.While this may suffice as a stop-gap measure, the permanent solution is to do a thorough review and re-design or revamp of all those drains that do not have sufficient gradient to allow good drainage.


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