My Say

City Council’s Front Yard a Breeding Ground for Dengue

By Jerry Francis

The Ipoh City Council’s health department must stop inspecting private dwellings in the city and stop issuing summonses to residents found to breed mosquitoes in their premises. Continuing to do so will be a mockery. The department should first look at the council’s front yard – Dataran MBI. It is one of the many places the city council has neglected and it is becoming a potential mosquitoes’ breeding ground. Others include clogged drains along the main streets of the city.

The health inspectors need to just take a look at the bases of the six ornamental concrete units, once filled with plants and waterfalls and has since stopped functioning for years, lining two sides of the Dataran. They are now, filled with 5 cm deep of brownish stagnant water and litter thrown by passers-by and patrons of the night eating stalls at the fringe of the Dataran,  emitting a stench.

Hundreds of people walking across the Dataran, located between the City Council Complex and Greentown Business Centre daily, can be observed looking into them with disgust. However, it appears that the sight of the filth and stagnant water has escaped the city council’s officials for months.

I have refrained from highlighting it for a long time in the hope that the city council would soon clear the stagnant water, but till now nothing has been done. Are the pools of stagnant water in the bases of the ornamental concrete units not becoming breeding grounds for the Aedes mosquito? What are the health inspectors doing about it? Why is the city council not being issued with summons? If not, why not? Is the city council above the law, which it readily enforces?

I do not blame the newly-appointed Mayor, Datuk Harun Rawi, who at a recent city council’s full board meeting stated that 40 localities in the city has been declared as dengue hot spots, for not realising that the city council’s front yard could soon become one.

Described as a straightforward person whose primary concern is to serve the rakyat to the best of his ability, Datuk Harun needs to stamp his authority as Mayor quickly before the ‘Little Napoleons’ in the city council overshadow him. He must show that he is determined to work towards making Ipoh once again the cleanest city in the country. Otherwise, he is doomed to fail just as his predecessors.

The city council must set a good example in fulfilling its responsibilities to the ratepayers to eventually get their full cooperation. It needs to show its determination and clear all the illegal rubbish dumps and clogged drains in the city. Do not give the excuse of lack of cooperation from the people for its own negligence. It also needs to set a good example.

In its efforts to combat dengue in the city, which has reached over 120 cases, the city council has issued over 20 compounds to homeowners, business operators, schools and construction sites which were found to be breeding mosquitoes. It is also working together with the state health department and other agencies to organise gotong-royong programmes that are designed to raise public awareness while destroying mosquito breeding grounds.

The irony of it is when the Mayor Datuk Harun called on residents to help fight dengue by thoroughly cleaning their houses and surrounding areas as “Aedes larvae can even live in stagnant water the size of a 20 sen coin”, he should have looked at his own patch just outside, where city council has neglected to clear much bigger pools of stagnant water in Dataran MBI.

It is a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

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