SINGAPORE – Knock knock, who’s there? It’s an officer from the National Environment Agency (NEA), who is here to check your home for mosquito breeding spots.
As dengue cases continue to rise around the island, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said on Wednesday (June 15) that individual and community responsibility are the most critical elements of dengue control here.
The Straits Times followed NEA inspection officer Sindhusha Selvakumar to a dengue hot spot in Little India to see what happens when the NEA comes knocking.
Entering the premises
NEA officers decide which homes to inspect based on the number of mosquitoes caught in gravitraps designed to attract female Aedes mosquitoes which spread dengue. The officers also take into account feedback received, as well as the presence of dengue cases in the area.
However, when there is a surge in dengue cases, the officers will focus their resources on homes with dengue cases, or within dengue clusters, explained Ms Sindhusha.
When an NEA officer like Ms Sindhusha visits a unit, she will introduce and identify herself as an NEA officer by showing an NEA authority card.
Residents who wish to verify officers’ identities may call NEA on 6225-5632 before letting the officers into their homes.
Officers can enter a home only after a resident has given consent, and will have to be accompanied by the resident throughout the entire inspection process.
“Some residents have the misconception that we go with the intention of (issuing fines). Our intention is purely to eliminate any possible mosquito breeding sites. This is a very serious public health concern, so we go there to… contain the dengue cluster,” said Ms Sindhusha.