NEA to tighten enforcement to tackle growing rat population

About 43,000 rat burrows were detected in 2015, about 1,000 more compared to the previous year. Over the two years, 85 per cent were found in housing estates.
Liyana Othman Channel NewsAsia 13 Apr 16;

SINGAPORE: The National Environment Agency (NEA) is tightening its enforcement to tackle the growing rat population in the Republic, announced Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor in Parliament on Tuesday (Apr 12).

The measures are part of wider efforts to improve public cleanliness.

About 43,000 rat burrows were detected in 2015, about 1,000 more compared to the previous year. Over the two years, 85 per cent were found in housing estates. Therefore, from July, NEA will step up enforcement for breaches in areas managed by town councils.

Said Dr Khor: "It remains a challenge for town councils in their rodent control efforts due to the many bin chutes and bin centres and numerous food stalls in our housing estates. Ultimately, the key to managing rat infestation is to remove food sources and areas of harbourage.

"Stakeholders have a responsibility to improve the housekeeping of their premises, such as bin centres and refuse chutes, and to deny rats easy access to food sources. And this has to be a consistent and sustained effort by all parties."

In 2015, more than 200 enforcement actions were taken against owners of premises, including Town Councils. To get all stakeholders to work together to coordinate their pest control plans, NEA has also piloted taskforces in four locations - Redhill Close, Bedok Central, Clementi Avenue 3 and Bangkit Road.

These are areas with multiple stakeholders, and actions by one party may simply displace the rats to another location, said Dr Khor.

Besides this, NEA is also encouraging the community to play a bigger role to keep Singapore clean. A Bill was passed earlier this year to expand its Community Volunteer (CV) Programme and empower members of the public to take action against litterbugs.

"Let me clarify that even with the amended legislation, we will only allow the CVs, like before, to use their authority card to request for the particulars of a non-compliant offender, for NEA’s investigations and enforcement. The CV's primary role is to encourage the public to take responsibility for the environment, and they do not issue tickets to offenders," said Dr Khor.

So far, the community volunteers have engaged more than 2,500 potential offenders.

- CNA/ek

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