PICTURES

Dry spell in Singapore fills streets, pavements and drains with more fallen leaves than usual

The low water level at Bedok Reservoir on Feb 5, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN
The low water level at Bedok Reservoir on Feb 5, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN
Dried leaves and grass at Bedok Reservoir on Feb 5, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN
Dried leaves and grass at Bedok Reservoir on Feb 5, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN
The path near parched grass off Cassia Link on Feb 5, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
The path near parched grass off Cassia Link on Feb 5, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Low water levels seen at MacRitchie Reservoir on Feb 5, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Low water levels seen at MacRitchie Reservoir on Feb 5, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
A lone runner at Bidadari on Feb 25, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
A lone runner at Bidadari on Feb 25, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
Low water levels seen at MacRitchie Reservoir on Feb 5, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Low water levels seen at MacRitchie Reservoir on Feb 5, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Keeping cool in the heat: Staying in the shade while exercising with this four-wheel family ride that is a cross between a trishaw and a bicycle at East Coast Park. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MATTHIAS HO
Keeping cool in the heat: Staying in the shade while exercising with this four-wheel family ride that is a cross between a trishaw and a bicycle at East Coast Park. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MATTHIAS HO
At Yili Farm in Lim Chu Kang Lane, the pond which supplies water for the vegetables is now at lower than 10 per cent full on Feb 28, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
At Yili Farm in Lim Chu Kang Lane, the pond which supplies water for the vegetables is now at lower than 10 per cent full on Feb 28, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Dry conditions at the Botanic Gardens on Feb 24, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Dry conditions at the Botanic Gardens on Feb 24, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Low water levels seen at MacRitchie Reservoir on Feb 5, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Low water levels seen at MacRitchie Reservoir on Feb 5, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
A sweeper rakes dry leaves at Bedok Reservoir on Feb 8, 2014. -- BH FILE PHOTO: MOHD TAUFIK A KADER
A sweeper rakes dry leaves at Bedok Reservoir on Feb 8, 2014. -- BH FILE PHOTO: MOHD TAUFIK A KADER
Cleaners are stepping up their cleaning due to the current dry spell. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
Cleaners are stepping up their cleaning due to the current dry spell. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
Cleaners have to work much harder and longer hours due to the increased leaf shedding from the dry weather. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
Cleaners have to work much harder and longer hours due to the increased leaf shedding from the dry weather. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
The dry weather has caused increased leaf shedding. NEA is particularly concerned about the leaves in drains which may cause drain chokes and result in potential mosquito breeding. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
The dry weather has caused increased leaf shedding. NEA is particularly concerned about the leaves in drains which may cause drain chokes and result in potential mosquito breeding. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
The dry weather has caused increased leaf shedding. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
The dry weather has caused increased leaf shedding. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
The dry weather has caused increased leaf shedding. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
The dry weather has caused increased leaf shedding. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
Vegetation in Bidadari Park on Thursday, March 7, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Vegetation in Bidadari Park on Thursday, March 7, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Think it's almost like autumn, and many leaves are brown and falling all round you? You are not quite wrong, you know, for Singapore's persistently dry weather has led to more dry, fallen leaves filling streets, pavements and drains, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Thursday.

Twenty-five per cent more dry leaves were swept from the streets in February, compared with December 2013. In January, 15 per cent more had to be cleared, it said.

The dry spell "has led to heavy leaf shedding and an accumulation of leaves in some public areas", said an NEA spokesman.

Leaf litter weighing 1,750 tonnes was collected in February, which is equivalent to 350,000 filled rubbish bags.

"Singapore has a new season. It's called Autumn," quipped netizen Kate Lim on Facebook, posting a photograph of dry leaves carpeting a pavement.

The agency has stepped up cleaning efforts.

But it is not easy, as the increased and repeated leaf fall has meant that cleaners take a longer time to clean areas, said the spokesman, while the areas may give a "perception of incomplete or inadequate cleaning".

The greater frequency of falling leaves may also mean a higher risk of mosquito breeding, as the Culex mosquito - which does not carry the dengue virus - breeds in stagnant water with high content of organic matter from plants.

The NEA has thus stepped up the pace of cleaning during this period in dengue cluster areas and areas with high numbers of mosquitoes, in particular private estates with open drains. It has also arranged for additional cleaning at 71 locations, and is working with national water agency PUB to step up monitoring along drains at 108 locations. Town councils and land agencies are also increasing their frequency of drain cleaning to prevent leaf litter building up, the spokesman said.

These efforts would help reduce potential mosquito breeding grounds, he said. Some 250 of these were detected in the middle of last month, compared with just 30 in the beginning of January.