Tampines set to use ‘green’ pesticide in HDB bin chutes

WONG PEI TING Today Online 8 Apr 17;

SINGAPORE — The routine thermal fogging of chutes will become a thing of the past in Tampines come July, when the cockroach and mosquito population in public housing blocks will be kept in check with a more environmentally friendly method.

The new solution, involving an odourless and even edible form of liquid pesticide that is enzyme-based and made of soya bean, palm and tapioca extracts, underwent a month-long trial in four bin chutes in Tampines between October and November.

In that period, more than 1,200 cockroaches were killed within a matter of four seconds to five hours, said scientist Christo Niemandt, who devised the formula with Singapore-based company E-Organic Solutions.

And that is only “20 per cent of what we could count and see”, Mr Niemandt added, as the roaches would infect other roaches in their colonies, causing more to die.

Mr Anthony Goh, CEO of the product’s distributor, Isoteam, told TODAY the enzyme treatment would be more expensive, however, costing about S$10 per chute. Pesticide methods now cost town councils about S$5 to S$8 per chute, he said.

Noting that about six other town councils have expressed their interest, Mr Goh said prices will come down gradually when more town councils come on board.

At a demonstration of the new pest control method yesterday, Tampines Town Council chairman Baey Yam Keng said it would reduce annoyance for residents, since it does not set cockroaches on a “run and fly” frenzy.

He added that the method is not as noisy as fogging, and does not emit any fumes or odours.

The organic compound, made of good micro-organisms, attacks naturally occurring pathogens in pests such as cockroaches and mosquitoes, killing them by affecting their metabolism. It is “quite targeted” and does not act on dragonflies or bees, which do not have the pathogens, added Mr Baey.

The enzyme treatment will be rolled out in some 650 chutes in about 120 blocks in Tampines West from June 17, and extended to Tampines’ four other divisions a month later.

For a start, the enzyme will be sprayed twice a month. The frequency will be reduced when the situation “has stabilised”, said Tampines West property manager Albert Yee.

It could be “more cost-effective” in the long run, said Mr Baey, as spraying need not be as regular as the current fogging method, which is done nearly every quarter.

The solution is now being used only in Indonesia’s chicken and pig farms, but Isoteam chief strategy officer Albert Teng said he intends to also reach out to hawker centres here, where cockroach infestation could be better tackled in non-toxic ways.

The new method comes as a relief for Tampines resident Tang Wai Cheng, who squirms whenever she sees cockroaches near the chute at her home during thermal fogging. “The new method is better for the environment,” said the clinic assistant. “It’ll also help people with asthma, like me, who would close the windows whenever fogging is conducted.”


Tampines to use environmentally friendly anti-roach treatment from June
Vanessa Lim Channel NewsAsia 7 May 17;

SINGAPORE: Tampines estate from June will start a new environmentally friendly enzyme treatment to control the cockroach population, said Tampines Town Council in a release on Sunday (May 7).

Called Cockroaches, Mosquitoes and Odour Removal (CMO), the new water-based treatment uses enzymes from edible plants to attack pathogens in cockroaches. This will upset the pests’ metabolic system, resulting in carbon dioxide gas to be released in their bodies, killing them within five hours.

The treatment can also control the cockroach population as cockroaches infected by it can infect other cockroaches through contact. Resultant eggs from the infected cockroach will also be infected.

While deadly to cockroaches and mosquitoes, the solution is harmless to humans. In addition, it does not contaminate water as it does not contain any chemicals or pesticides.

In October 2016, a month-long trial of the enzyme treatment was conducted and was found to be effective. Tampines West will be the first to start the treatment in June. From July, it will be extended to all the other divisions in Tampines.

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Speaking to Channel NewsAsia at a demonstration of the new treatment, Member of Parliament (MP) for Tampines GRC Baey Yam Keng said that while the new treatment is more expensive, it will be more cost saving.

"With lesser frequency of having to spray this at the chutes, and expected better results in terms of controlling the number of cockroaches, we believe that this will end up being a better, more cost-effective method for us," said Mr Baey.

He added that Tampines Town Council will provide subsidies to its vector control operators to help kickstart the new treatment.

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