Dengue worry: Disused underpass to go

A view of the tunnel (top) near Shenton Way. Trash was also found around the area (above). Residents alerted The Straits Times to the underpass in January, concerned that it could be breeding mosquitoes.
A view of the tunnel (top) near Shenton Way. Trash was also found around the area (above). Residents alerted The Straits Times to the underpass in January, concerned that it could be breeding mosquitoes.ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG
A view of the tunnel (above) near Shenton Way. Trash was also found around the area. Residents alerted The Straits Times to the underpass in January, concerned that it could be breeding mosquitoes. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
A view of the tunnel (above) near Shenton Way. Trash was also found around the area. Residents alerted The Straits Times to the underpass in January, concerned that it could be breeding mosquitoes. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

A disused underpass near Shenton Way that residents said had been flooded and could breed Aedes mosquitoes will be demolished starting this month, according to the Singapore Land Authority (SLA).

The National Environment Agency (NEA) has also fogged the underpass and its surrounding area as a precaution, even though it did not detect any mosquito breeding during a site visit late last month.

Those who frequent the area had alerted The Straits Times to the underpass in January, concerned that it could be breeding the dengue-causing insects.

It is located behind the Singapore Conference Hall in Shenton Way and is near the Marina Bay Fire Station, but there are no homes in the immediate vicinity.

Mr Kevin Lim, a 36-year-old civil servant, said he first noticed the flooded underpass in early January when he was exploring the area with friends. It was still flooded when he returned about a week later.

"There were a lot of mosquitoes so we didn't want to hang out there too long," he said.

When The Straits Times visited the underpass in late January, the length of the underpass was almost entirely flooded and there were several mosquitoes.

The SLA said last week that it has carried out anti-mosquito maintenance in the underpass twice a month since 2009.

"The SLA has been using BTI granules - a biological product - that effectively kill mosquito larvae and prevent the breeding of mosquitoes," a spokesman said.

The authority added that demolition works for the underpass will begin this month, when a stretch of the existing East Coast Parkway over the underpass is removed, with the opening of the Marina Coastal Expressway.

Meanwhile, the NEA said last week that water was being pumped out of the underpass, although some remained when The Straits Times visited the site yesterday.

Vegetation surrounding it had also been cleared.

The NEA said that it will continue to work with the relevant agencies, including the SLA and the Land Transport Authority, to prevent mosquito breeding at the site until the demolition works begin.

zengkun@sph.com.sg

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