Public hygiene

Forum: Get serious about controlling pigeon population

Pigeons seen at Tekka Centre.
Pigeons seen at Tekka Centre.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

It is about time the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Land Transport Authority take measurable steps to control the pigeon population (Long-term plan needed to deal with birds at hawker centres, by Ms Mary Chan Pheck Li, Oct 29).

Raising fines, repeating the mantra of not feeding pigeons and issuing more enforcement notices have not reduced the pigeon infestation. I feel that NEA has cut back on pigeon culling to appease animal welfare advocates. But is the approach based on hard science and proven evidence of public hygiene control?

The crow infestation was severe here a decade ago until culling operations trimmed the numbers. The same should apply to the burgeoning pigeon population today, given the clear issues they present when it comes to hygiene.

Pigeons are an alien species and their droppings carry many pathogens that can infect humans. Their unchecked population growth in the community is a real risk should we be hit with another avian flu outbreak.

The areas underneath MRT tracks are prominent breeding spaces for these pigeons. I do not use the stretches of the Park Connector Network under these tracks, as they are lined by bands of pigeon droppings. Cyclists and joggers inevitably breathe in the dried-up droppings.

What is even more puzzling is that there appears to be a few spots where wiring is placed to fend off the pigeons. More effort should be expended to control the pigeon population.

Chai Meng Woei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2020, with the headline 'Get serious about controlling pigeon population'. Print Edition | Subscribe