Anti-dengue efforts should include estate maintenance

The alarming increase in dengue cases here is more worrying than the threat of the Zika virus.

The National Environment Agency has warned that dengue cases could exceed 30,000 this year ("Anti-dengue efforts stepped up as cases could hit 30,000"; Feb 19).

By March, dengue had already claimed four lives.

As long as private and public housing estates are inadequately maintained, mosquito breeding and dengue will continue to plague Singapore.

It is not just pails, laundry holders, wash basins or flower pots, but rather, poorly maintained drains, damaged and uneven floor surfaces and water-logged open fields that also collect water and attract mosquitoes to breed.

Mosquitoes breeding and dengue are hardly heard of in commercial buildings and newer condominiums. This could be because they have better and more structured building maintenance and facilities management programmes to ensure that the buildings, common areas and landscape are well maintained.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) should work with the Ministry of National Development (MND) to ensure that private properties and the common areas of public housing are well maintained and that defects are repaired. The MND can initiate a programme where home owners and town councils carry out inspections of buildings and common areas biannually or annually, according to an NEA and MND checklist.

Aaron Ang Chin Guan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2016, with the headline 'Anti-dengue efforts should include estate maintenance'. Print Edition | Subscribe