Residents living in fear of Dengue

Lately the mainstream papers are highlighting the outbreak of dengue in the country. As far as Perak is concerned, in April, Dato’ Nolee Ashilin Mohamed Radzi, former Chairman, State Health Committee informed that the state government has launched a unit to coordinate integrated dengue response measures to combat dengue. In July Dato’ Dr Mah Hang Soon, Chairman, State Health Committee said that a high-level committee would be set up to tackle the dengue situation; dengue cases in Perak have increased from 934 cases last year to 2834 cases for the first six months of this year.

‘Mosquito Garden’ is the popular name for Lim Garden and is about 2km from the MB’s office. A couple of years ago MBI put up a poster declaring this place as Kawasan Dengi after the outbreak of a few cases. Other than the poster, nothing was done. Recently two staff from MBI went about distributing pamphlets on dengue. They informed me there was a dengue case on the next road and to take care. What care can I take when I have to share my house with mosquitos? I have to sit with a mosquito swatter inside my house. The situation is worse outside. Visitors wonder how we tolerate the situation and why nothing is being done. Even MBI workers who come to work in this place complain of the mosquitos.

It isn’t that fogging, the first deterrent in the battle against mosquitoes, is not carried out. I often hear the sound of fogging and can see the fog and, depending on the wind direction, I smell the insecticide.

The main cause of mosquito problem in Lim Garden has been identified as the individual septic tanks which are major breeding grounds. Everyone is told to keep his septic tank free of mosquitoes; if one person fails to do it, then mosquitos start breeding and affect the whole neighbourhood.

K. Sagadevan, Secretary, Lim Garden Residents Committee said he had met with Indah Water (IWK) and requested that a Centralised Sewage System (CSS) be built and was told that it was not their job to put up a sewage system. The Manager of IWK, Ipoh informed that their job was to collect fees and de sludge and it was the responsibility of Jabatan Perkhidmatan Pembetungan (JPP) to build (CSS).

I visited National Water Services Commission (SPAN) which has taken over JPP with Saga and spoke to Ir. Azrol Bin Noordin, Branch Head. Azrol was friendly and frank and advised us to write a letter requesting to put up the  CSS and also gave suggestions on what must be highlighted in the letter. He said that he would forward the letter to Headquarters and it would take time for any action. Saga has written the letter and handed it to Azrol.

The latest news is “RM500 fine for breeding Aedes”. It is not only the residents who are creating breeding grounds for mosquitos. The main culprit is MBI which is not doing its job. Who is going to fine MBI for its incompetence?

SPAN must act quickly and build a CSS. A vacant land has been identified for the plant. Making statements is not going to solve the problem and residents in Lim Garden are living in the fear of dengue. Dato’ Dr Mah Hang Soon needs to come and inspect ‘Mosquito Garden’ soon.

A. Jeyaraj

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