Sunday, September 11, 2016

Zika striking fear in people, engaging their own pest control services

This is news from The Star. People are talking about Zika everywhere now especially those in town area and they are taking their own initiative to control the spread of Zika. Read below news from the Star.

Residents resort to hiring private pest control services

WITH the word Zika striking fear in people, some are taking matters into their own hands in eliminating mosquitoes from their homes including engaging their own pest control services. Section 5 resident Mandy Leong has resorted to fogging her own house compound via an external pest control company and she plans to do it about twice a month. The 32-year-old is planning to start a family and is taking every preventive measure possible.

“There is only so much I can do and I hope other houseowners in my area are also doing something to ensure there are no mosquito breeding grounds in our neighbourhood,” she said.

Similarly, Section 4 resident Jason Butt has also engaged a pest control company to carry out fogging at the perimeter of his house. “I have been doing this regularly because of dengue but now with Zika, maybe I will fog twice a month for prevention purposes,” he said.

Section 5 Residents Association (RA) president Mohamed Rafiq Fazaldin said he had received numerous complaints from residents who were worried and afraid. “We had planned to get our own fogging machine but we scrapped it because we were worried about the chemicals and its dangers.

Also we do not know how to operate it properly,” he said. Due to lack of funding and irregular income stream, the RA finds it costly to engage external fogging services for the whole neighbourhood.

“We only get RM6,000 from Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) a year but we spend about RM22,000 monthly for security because of the high crime rate here,” he said.

Rafiq said he had alerted MBPJ about the mosquito breeding grounds at the forest reserve in his neighbourhood hoping the local council would take action soon, especially during the current rainy season.

Gasing Indah Rukun Tetangga (RT) chairman Eric Chew said mosquitoes would become immune to fogging, so it was important to kill the larvae. The RT is working with a biotechnology company focused on vector control, using safe and sustainable chemicals. To help raise awareness on the new method, the RT will educate the 310 households in the neighbourhood about preventive measures.

In Section 14, the RA is also planning a gotong-royong and site inspection with the help of MBPJ this month. “We will engage the Health Department to conduct house visits on that day, to check and summon owners whose houses are found to be breeding mosquitoes,” said Section 14 (14/1 to 14/15) RA chairman Selve Sugumaran. Apart from this, a spokesman from a property facility management company here said that even residents in high-rise properties were taking extra precautions to keep their apartments free from mosquito breeding grounds.

“There are regular pest control and cleaning services but some owners have also started carrying out fogging at their homes,” said Francis Ng.

In light of Zika, the management company has been actively educating and spreading the word in Desa Park City, Selayang, Kepong and Cheras about checking not only their own premises but also the common areas for stagnant water and potential breeding grounds.

Aside from residents, MBPJ councillor Sean Oon is spreading awareness to schools, starting with SMK Sri Permata in SS3. Students will be made to attend a two-hour workshop titled “Dengue and Zika — Search and Destroy.” 

“After the workshop, participants will be asked to conduct search-and-destroy operations in their respective housing areas,” he said. Participants can present their findings to MBPJ, who will then take immediate action against breeding grounds and issue summonses to the culprits.

MBPJ’s Health Department is also going all out in checking for mosquito breeding grounds in all neighbourhoods in the city. Its most recent was yesterday, when officers went door to door, speaking to residents and entering their compounds to check for mosquito breeding grounds.

“If there are breeding spots found, we will issue a fine of RM500 on the spot and the owner must ensure their area is cleaned up immediately,” said MBPJ public relations officer Zainun Zakaria. 

Every day, officers will visit three to four neighbourhoods between 10am and 5pm on weekdays and from 10am until noon on weekends to carry out checks. Officers will conduct larviciding, fogging using mist blowers and giving residents Abate to scatter in their drains and aquariums.

“We will not stop people who want to do their own fogging but the company engaged must be licensed and approved by the Agriculture Ministry,” said Zainun. 

However, she said too much fogging could cause the mosquitoes in that area to become immune, emphasising that the best prevention was to keep the area clean.

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