x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Entire emirate of Ajman to be fumigated

Authorities are to fumigate the entire emirate while enforcing tough new pest control laws; residents say human litterbugs are also a pest.

AJMAN // Stray animals, rodents, bedbugs, mosquitoes and flies will soon be under siege from the emirate's pest controllers.

A week ago workers started spraying the al Nuamiya and Rashidiya neighbourhoods, which are said to be infested with rodents and insects. By the end of December the whole emirate will have been fumigated, said Khalid al Hosni, the Ajman director of public health.

"They will be spraying all waste containers to get rid of flies, which are common in winter," he said. "Farms, neighbouring abandoned areas and water pods will all be sprayed to curb the threat of mosquitoes."

Things that slither will receive attention as well as those that fly or crawl. People who have seen snakes in their neighbourhoods should notify the municipality to have their area evaluated for spraying, he added.

Residents have been asking authorities to take the problem of stray animals in their neighbourhoods seriously and to devise means of eliminating them, said Mohsen Abdullatif, a Rashidiya resident.

"Only recently we have started seeing animals living side-by-side with people," he said. "If this is not sorted out, we shall see animals spreading their diseases to people especially if they are not immunised."

Mr al Hosni said the emirate had a problem with stray dogs. His department had taken 500 into custody last year. More than 70 were picked up in the Masfoot and Musheiref areas in June alone.

"We started a campaign against stray animals and seizing all these dogs was a result of this comprehensive campaign," he said.

"Our campaign is continuing this year and we have again seized a number of dogs but the situation is not so worrying for an outbreak of any pandemic."

Abdullah Salman, a resident of Mushairef, had a different concern. He said he had seen a group of monkeys climbing trees in the area.

"Me and my friends saw with our own eyes three monkeys," he said. "We called the police and they managed to take one monkey. The other two had already fled."

Residents also said the authorities should pay more attention to littering.

"Some neighbourhoods are filled with large quantities of waste, including soft-drink cans and bottles, papers and leftover food," said Osama Ali, a resident of the Nuamiya area.

"You could wonder if some people need to go to school to be told where to dispose of their garbage and where not."

Majed Yousef, another resident, suggested the municipality should hire a private cleaning company to maintain the emirate, as Sharjah had done.

"The municipality should privatise this work and have it done regularly throughout the year," he said. "Clean-up campaigns alone will not solve the problem."

Mr al Hosni also warned that the emirate would also be targeting unregistered pest control companies and those that were not meeting safety and health standards.

Ajman put in place stricter regulations for pest control companies after infant twins died earlier this year after inhaling a dangerous pesticide that was sprayed in their neighbourhood.

Now, all pest control firms have to submit the names and types of pesticides they use. They have to carry a copy of their certificate of approval from the Ministry of Environment and Water. Residents also have the right to see this card.

In addition, companies must keep records of chemicals they have bought, and prove that expired pesticides have been destroyed.