Netizens were shocked when they saw images of what was formerly a lush green covered hill turned into a near barren piece of land.
The hill that is just next to Bukit Batok MRT station was previously featured on news due to a large colony of rats inhabiting the hill. A video that showed the extent of the rat colony inhibating the hill was shared virally on social media.
James Tan, a local blogger shared his photos on his facebook account of the hill and showed the amount of vegetation cover that was lost after a few months through the whole extermination process.
More than 50% of the greenery is now gone and might increase over time as soil erosion takes place.
TOC had earlier contacted Jurong Town Council about the felling of the trees and clearing of the vegetation but was told that HDB manages the said piece of state land.
In a statement to the media, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) confirms that the clearing of the vegetation is in an attempt to remove rat burrows, as well as rid stray dogs of possible hiding places.
HDB added that the “bare” portion of the land is temporary, and “re-turfing” efforts are being carried out. It added that the clearance would allow the HDB to better maintain the land.
The pest control specialist, Star Pest Control said to media that the vegetation was cleared by the HDB after the firm had withdrawn operations from the site.
In an earlier joint statement released by the Housing and Development Board (HDB), the National Environment Agency (NEA), Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and Jurong Town Council, said that the rat infestation at the hill is a problem created by the feeding of stray dogs.
The statement added that the resulting food scraps have attracted rodents and encouraged their infestation and the infestation had been “kept under control” due to measures such as fencing to keep stray dogs away from common areas, and notices to remind the public not to feed the stray dogs.
It was reported by the Chinese media here that the total cost of the pest control operations at Bukit Batok hill was over $120,000.