Environment Issues brought out by Workers’ Party MPs

MP for Aljunied GRC, Pritam Singh spoke in the parliament on Tuesday in the parliament on the issue with the growing rat problem observed in Singapore, while fellow MP Sylvia Lim spoke on the unusual peak of dengue outbreaks at the time of the year.

Mr Pritam Singh presented the alarming trend of the increase of areas that are deemed to be rat infested. From 1999 of 11 areas  grew to a staggering number of  1,687 infested areas in 2010 found by the National Enviroment Agency.

He highlighted his concern over the possible rise of the rat population in the future due to the increasing avaliable food source on the island.

He requested for the step up of the anti-rodent enforcement and education efforts by the Ministry of Environment  with the same level of effort made with the anti-dengue campaign.

A request was also made towards the ministry to update the number of annual cases of rat-transmitted diseases such as leptospirosis and murine typhus infections .

On the dengue situation, Ms Sylvia Lim acknowledged the efforts by National Environment Agency (NEA) in their outreach and enforcement efforts, along with the collaboration between NEA and MPs of Aljunied-Hougang Town Council in responding to the dengue situation.

“It seems that the current dengue outbreak has peaked at an unusual time of year – at end 2012 and the start of 2013, rather than the usual July-August periods of the past.”, said Ms Sylvia Lim

The dengue affected areas has been stated to be mostly situated in the eastern and north-eastern sectors of Singapore, including residential estates in the Yio Chu Kang and Serangoon area.

Mr Pritnam Singh in his speech also stated that 900 mosquito-breeding offences were detected in construction sites in 2012, with 626 being first-time offenders. He suggests that there is scope for greater public health scrutiny of the construction sites in general, especially since many are located in or close to HDB housing estates.

A reference was made towards a discovery by the Defence Science Organisation laboratories on a human anti-body which would potentially limit the damage caused by the dengue virus. Ms Sylvia Lim asked NEA if there is any collaboration with such external agencies, what are its current research priorities on dengue and highlighted the  importance of research being critical to improve the current treatment responses for those infected with dengue virus.

Read MP Pritam Singh’s speech here

Read MP Sylvia Lim’s speech here