Rats! We have a problem

In 2015, there were about 6,700 complaints about rat problems — including the dead rat that was found in a vegetable dish at a Chinese restaurant in Marina Square and the rat that fell from the ceiling of Bedok Mall.

Here’s the Bedok Mall rat doing its best impression of Ratatouille, just in case you forgot.

National Environment Agency (NEA) said that it received more complaints in 2015 than the 4,000 in 2014, according to local media.

It also conducted more food outlet inspections, from around 140,000 in 2014 to about 148,000 last year and took more enforcement actions were against 190 owners, up from 80.

Truth be told, these actions are long welcomed after a 2015 report highlighted NEA’s management failure.

A 2015 report published by the Auditor-General Office (AGO) said that they found failures in NEA’s anti-rodent programme. The report, which was submitted to the president, flagged the gaps in NEA’s rodent surveillance and control programme.

We take a look at the 3 loopholes in the way we manage the rodent problem.

1. NEA only treated rodent situations in areas under its charge

In 2015, NEA said that its contractors only had to treat the rat burrows under NEA’s purview and not those under the purview of other public agencies. Because of that, some burrows were left untreated and the number of burrows in several locations had increased over time.

The report concluded that the surveillance and control programme that was in place could result in higher overall cost of treating rodent problems.

2. The contractor did not treat 115 active burrows detected in areas under the purview of other public agencies for the period September 2013 to January 2014.

Because these active burrows weren’t eradicated,

  1. 16 burrows in nine locations were active months after the burrows were detected
  2. 17 burrows in seven locations had increased to 32 burrows in a span of two to six months after the burrows were first detected.

3. NEA had not actively followed up with the public agencies on actions taken to treat the active burrows detected.

The report said that NEA did not follow up with the public agencies to destroy the rodents that was not it its purview.

NEA explains that despite its contract specifying that the contractor was supposed to destroy rodents in all pubic areas, including areas under under the purview of other public agencies, that the contract specification was not worded accurately.

And because NEA intended for the contractor to treat only the burrows in areas under NEA’s purview, it would inform the relevant public agencies about any active burrows  that its contractors find. The report said that NEA had not actively followed up with the public agencies on actions taken to treat the active burrows detected.

NEA stepping up

With the report, NEA informed AGO that it would work with the other public agencies to tackle the problem.

Since NEA revealed the latest figures this week, it says that it plans to boost efforts to treat detected rat burrows, including those that fall under the responsibility of other agencies, though no specifics details have been given yet.

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Featured image via Facebook
With reference to Auditor General Office report, The Straits Times