Oiling stagnant water can't be permanent solution

It is doubtful whether the National Environment Agency's standard operating procedure of oiling stagnant water in drains to kill mosquito larvae is a sustainable or permanent solution (Focus is on reducing Aedes mosquito's breeding habitats; March 10).

It is, at best, an interim solution.

Stagnant water in drains is usually caused by obstructions to the free flow of water, wrong gradient of the drains or wear and tear.

If these root causes are not rectified, the pools of stagnant water will remain and will be topped up each time it rains.

The persistent failure to identify and tackle the root cause could explain our continuing struggle against mosquito breeding over the decades. When I asked my town council to rectify the root cause of stagnant water rather than to just apply oil, it pointed out that it had to follow NEA's standard operating procedure.

In our manpower- and time-starved country, it is well-nigh impossible to expect everyone to adopt NEA's standard operating procedure and oil every single spot of stagnant water weekly. Even if everyone did this, one can imagine the vast amount of oil finally flowing into and polluting our reservoirs.

As the government agency that sets the standard in our quest to destroy the breeding habitats of mosquitoes, the NEA should review this standard operating procedure without delay.

Steven Lo Chock Fei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2018, with the headline 'Oiling stagnant water can't be permanent solution'. Print Edition | Subscribe