Think it's almost like autumn, and many leaves are brown and falling all round you? You are not quite wrong, you know, for Singapore's persistently dry weather has led to more dry, fallen leaves filling streets, pavements and drains, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Thursday.
Twenty-five per cent more dry leaves were swept from the streets in February, compared with December 2013. In January, 15 per cent more had to be cleared, it said.
The dry spell "has led to heavy leaf shedding and an accumulation of leaves in some public areas", said an NEA spokesman.
Leaf litter weighing 1,750 tonnes was collected in February, which is equivalent to 350,000 filled rubbish bags.
"Singapore has a new season. It's called Autumn," quipped netizen Kate Lim on Facebook, posting a photograph of dry leaves carpeting a pavement.
The agency has stepped up cleaning efforts.
But it is not easy, as the increased and repeated leaf fall has meant that cleaners take a longer time to clean areas, said the spokesman, while the areas may give a "perception of incomplete or inadequate cleaning".
The greater frequency of falling leaves may also mean a higher risk of mosquito breeding, as the Culex mosquito - which does not carry the dengue virus - breeds in stagnant water with high content of organic matter from plants.
The NEA has thus stepped up the pace of cleaning during this period in dengue cluster areas and areas with high numbers of mosquitoes, in particular private estates with open drains. It has also arranged for additional cleaning at 71 locations, and is working with national water agency PUB to step up monitoring along drains at 108 locations. Town councils and land agencies are also increasing their frequency of drain cleaning to prevent leaf litter building up, the spokesman said.
These efforts would help reduce potential mosquito breeding grounds, he said. Some 250 of these were detected in the middle of last month, compared with just 30 in the beginning of January.