NEA takes firm action in home checks

A National Environment Agency officer checks the kitchen cabinet of a home for possible mosquito breeding.
A National Environment Agency officer checks the kitchen cabinet of a home for possible mosquito breeding.PHOTO: ST FILE

We thank Mr William Bremner and Mr Taim Oon Chew for their feedback (Fine residents who refuse NEA checks for mosquito breeding, June 13; and Use law to fullest in fight against dengue, June 14).

The National Environment Agency (NEA) takes a systematic and holistic approach to arrest dengue transmission in Singapore.

Our strategies for dengue clusters include continuous surveillance of Aedes mosquitoes activity through the deployment of Gravitraps, a regime of regular inspections of potential breeding sites, and removal of mosquito breeding sources through intensive search-and-destroy operations.

The latter include destroying larvae using larvicide and killing adult mosquitoes through the use of insecticide fogging and misting for outdoor areas, as well as space spraying indoors.

For premises that our officers are unable to gain access to, for example, when no one is home, a letter will be served to the owner or occupier to arrange for another date to inspect the unit.

If NEA officers are still unable to access the premises, a legal notice under the Control of Vectors and Pesticides Act will be served to the occupiers, requiring them to open their homes for inspections at a specified time.

From our records, NEA had inspected 175 of such premises between 2017 and last month after serving such legal notices.

Of the 55 premises inspected this year after such legal notices had been served, two were found to be breeding mosquitoes.

Through our extensive outreach and public communication efforts over the years and the support of grassroots organisations, most residents understand the danger of dengue transmission and have been cooperative in facilitating our home inspections.

Every individual has a part to play in curbing the dengue transmission.

We are now in the traditional dengue peak season, and we seek the cooperation of all residents and stakeholders to play their part to complement NEA's efforts by doing the five-step Mozzie Wipeout, cooperate with our officers during their inspection rounds, and take defensive measures such as applying insect repellent when carrying out outdoor activities.

A collective effort is needed in our fight against dengue.

Tony Teo

Director, Environmental Public Health Operations

National Environment Agency

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2019, with the headline 'NEA takes firm action in home checks'. Print Edition | Subscribe