THE statistics for dengue in January have not been encouraging.
From Jan 3 until Jan 16, the Health Ministry’s “idengue” remote-sensing tool has tallied 14 fatalities due to dengue fever.
In Selangor, 201 cases were recorded on Jan 24, bringing the total number of cases from Jan 3 until Jan 24 to 3,810.
With the increase in dengue cases, residents want local authorities to do more to keep public areas clean and free from the dengue scourge.
The Klang Municipal Council has come under fire from residents for failing to maintain the cleanliness of playgrounds, public parks and fields.
Residents say the lackadaisical attitude of contractors tasked with cleaning fields and parks, including drains, can have serious repercussions especially with the rising number of dengue cases in Selangor.
In Klang, 300 dengue cases were reported in the first nine days of the year, with the majority of incidents in Taman Sentosa and Bandar Bukit Tinggi.
It was reported that council president Datuk Mohd Yazid Bidin had pledged special attention to the matter to prevent the numbers from going up further in the municipality.
A check by StarMetro showed that drains at parks were waterlogged.
A section of the butterfly park in Bukit Tinggi was filled with water while a gazebo was flooded with rainwater.
These areas, residents say, werepotential breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes.
The lack of supervision by the council over its cleaning contractors was a contributing factor.
Bandar Bukit Tinggi Residents Association chairman Gan Ee Chai said the dengue situation at his neighbourhood was alarming.
The RA, he said, had been organising regular gotong-royong sessions to clean up potential mosquito breeding spots in the neighbourhood.
“The developer, WCT Holdings Bhd, has also been supporting our effort by sponsoring T-shirts and supplying machinery for the gotong-royong.
“However, we are unhappy that the council is not doing enough to ensure its contractors do their part,” he said adding that contractors were not following the council’s cleaning schedule.
Bandar Puteri Rukun Tetangga chairman M. Mohan said the drain around the centralised park in his area, which had a jogging track, parcourse and playground, was often clogged.
“We have had numerous dengue cases last year and I fear the situation will worsen this year,” he said blaming the contractors’ for not cleaning the park.
Aman Perdana Residents Association chairman A. Maniam said the public park in his area was often deserted as parents kept their children from playing there because of the rise in dengue cases.
He added that the council should do its part to clear clogged drains to allay residents fears.
In Petaling Jaya, three areas including Kota Damansara, Damansara Damai and Sri Meranti in Sri Damansara, have been identified as dengue hotspots.
With more than 400 parks and open spaces in Petaling Jaya, and with the increase in dengue cases, the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ)’s Vector Control Unit has its hands full checking for Aedes breeding sites.
StarMetro visited a number of council parks and green spaces in the central city area and found these to be in good conditions, despite heavy rain two days in a row.
Although there was water ponding at some ground depressions, MBPJ had taken proactive steps to eliminate most of the obvious site for mosquitoes to breed.
According to a source, nine teams were despatched almost daily, to conduct larvae surveys.
A team would visit one to three parks each day.
One of the breeding sites identified, the source said was wastebins made in an old design, like tree-stumps, without outlets for water to flow.
“Normally, these are lined with a garbage bag and when water gets in, it stays in, enabling mosquitoes to breed there,” said the source.
The Landscaping Department, which maintains the parks, has been instructed to drill holes at the bottom of such wastebins for drainage.
City councillor Sean Oon pointed out another problem, which was the use of discarded old tyres that acted as “pots” to protect new tree saplings planted by residents on council-maintained open spaces.
During an inspection of open spaces in SS2, MBPJ officers removed over 20 such tyres which were found to have mosquito larvae, said Oon who had accompanied the officers.
Other areas identified and have been subjected to inspection included illegal dumping sites in Taman Perindustrian Jaya in Ara Damansara, as well as at the river reserve in PJS 3 and on TNB reserve land.
One plot of land StarMetro found along Jalan PJS 1/25, was supposed to have had a drainage system constructed last year, but work was abandoned, said nearby shopowners and hawkers.
Upon entering the filled-in mining pool area, there was water pooling all over, from evening showers and in one corner, a partially-covered water tank was filled nearly to the brim.
Tasman Usman, a pensioner living in nearby Medan Berjasa, said the land had been empty for 20 years.
“So far, the last time we had a case, and fogging done, was late last year,” said Tasman.