Fine residents who refuse NEA checks for mosquito breeding

A National Environment Agency officer checking potted plants at Block 106 Hougang Avenue 3 for signs of mosquito breeding.
A National Environment Agency officer checking potted plants at Block 106 Hougang Avenue 3 for signs of mosquito breeding. PHOTO: ST FILE

My family and I have been living in a house in Jurong for 11 years. In the past year, there has been a serious mosquito problem in our area.

Earlier this year, our street was declared a dengue red zone and we redoubled our five-step Mozzie Wipeout efforts - something we take very seriously.

Our home and the surrounding premises have been inspected by National Environment Agency (NEA) officers on many occasions.

Not only do we welcome them, but we also applaud their efforts for this often thankless work.

This, despite having paid a stiff fine for mosquito larvae found in some hardened plant soil on one occasion.

However, I recently learnt from a phone conversation with an NEA representative that some of our neighbours have refused NEA entry into their properties.

Surely, the NEA has the legal right to enter the property to inspect it, I said, to which the NEA representative replied that the agency does not always push the law and would prefer home owners to cooperate.

I find this infuriating.

While we welcome the NEA into our home and even pay fines, we have neighbours who are unwilling to even allow inspectors to enter their properties.

Dengue is a serious health threat for all people in Singapore and requires a fully cooperative community to reduce its threat.

Why should we be paying fines when our neighbours will not even allow the NEA to inspect their properties?

I respectfully suggest that home owners who refuse NEA entry into their properties be issued a warning on the first instance and, when a second attempt at inspection is refused, a stiff fine should be handed out to them for breaking the law.

My wife and I both contracted dengue in the past month; I, from Thailand, but my wife, from right here in our neighbourhood.

I can't help but wonder - had all our neighbours cooperated with the NEA inspectors, would my wife have been able to avoid contracting dengue?

We are going through a dengue epidemic and it is time to use Sections 35 and 36 of the Control of Vectors and Pesticides Act to their fullest extent.

Wiliam Bremner

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2019, with the headline 'Fine residents who refuse NEA checks for mosquito breeding'. Print Edition | Subscribe