Thursday, September 13, 2007

Today (13 Sept 2007) - Long-term solutions needed to fight mosquito-borne diseases

Voices // Thursday, September 13, 2007
Long-term solutions needed to fight mosquito-borne diseases

Letter from See Leong Kit

I refer to the report, "Woman, 53, is dengue's latest fatality" (Sept 12).
.This is the seventh death caused by dengue fever this year. To date, 6,530 people have been infected — three times more than in the same period last year. In 2005, 14,210 people were infected and 25 of them died, including a 10-year-old student.
.We now face the threat of chikungunya fever. Both viral diseases are spread by the same Aedes mosquito. Between December last year and May this year, the Health Ministry had reported eight confirmed chikungunya cases.
.While members of the public have to play their part to prevent mosquitoes breeding, public officials should also work on finding long-term solutions in tackling such mosquito-borne diseases. The National Environment Agency (NEA) should co-ordinate its efforts with other government bodies such as the Building & Construction Authority (BCA) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
.Have the NEA and BCA ever held a joint comprehensive review of the design and construction features of high-rise and low-rise buildings that contribute to mosquito breeding?
.Will the BCA set design rules for developers to follow?
.The NEA identified roof gutters to be a major breeding ground for mosquitoes. Yet many older bus stops still have roof gutters.
.Why don't the NEA and LTA seal off these gutters?
.Surely this would have been a quick and inexpensive solution?
.The roof gutters of houses are often difficult to reach and few home owners bother to clean them.
.Could the relevant agencies introduce new laws that ban the use of gutters in houses?
.Perhaps the NEA should also consider introducing legislation to cover these areas as well: Rooftop water tanks, lift wells, basement water-sumps, as well as drains and basement car parks.


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