“Food that is left on open ground or improperly disposed of causes the proliferation of rats, cockroaches and other vermin,” Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu told Parliament on Tuesday.
She was responding to questions from several Members of Parliament on the recent spate of rats infestation incidents, particularly at an open field near the Bukit Batok MRT station which horrified the public.
Several hundred rats were seen at the field, and a video of it went viral online, before the authorities took action.
“The key to rodent control is to eliminate food sources,” Ms Fu, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, said.
She said that enforcement was also important, such as stepping up inspections and operations.
It was also reported that “more than 35,000 rodent burrows were found and treated from January to November last year by the National Environment Agency (NEA) to get rid of rats.”
“We need all stakeholders from food stall and restaurant operators to companies that are in charge of cleaning to really step up and ensure we have a hygienic and clean environment,” Ms Fu said.
The rats problem has occurred sporadically throughout the years, but seems to be more regular in recent months.
Just a week ago, Punggol residents expressed concern after numerous rat sightings near Block 106A in Punggol Field.
“Residents said that the sightings had become more common recently and at least one was worried it may become as bad as the Bukit Batok rat infestation, which was reported last month,” the Straits Times reported then.
“There are more and more rats, and some look very robust. Sometimes I see three or four at the same time,” a resident told the Chinese papers.
And also last week, a rat was found in a dish of vegetables at the Hotpot Culture restaurant in Marina Square.
Some tenants there said the rats could have emerged from the lower floors of the shopping centre, where renovation and construction work were being done.
“We have been complaining to the management about the rat issue many times before this. It’s out of control,” said one tenant to Yahoo Singapore.
Experts have said that besides the availability of food sources, construction work is also another cause of the presence of rats as “construction activity may have flushed out the rats from their homes.” (My Paper)
“The growth in Singapore’s human population has also led to more food waste that is not disposed of properly, causing the rat population to grow faster,” the paper reported, citing what pest controllers said.