x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Recent reduction in Dubai's rat numbers under close inspection

Fewer construction sites and better hygiene are deterring pests.

DUBAI // The financial crisis has brought hardship to many residents. But it has had one advantage: it has helped curtail the emirate's rat population.

Since the crisis hit in 2008, the number of construction sites in Dubai has fallen dramatically - leaving rodents with fewer places to hide.

"Unlike previous years, rats are now under control," said Elias Kanaan, president of Unimar Pest Control Services. "Now we've got fewer construction sites."

Mr Kanaan was speaking after the launch yesterday of a municipality campaign to rid three residential areas in Al Barsha, Al Warqa and Oud Muteena of the pests.

Hisham Abdul-Rahman Al Yahya, head of pest control at Unimar, blamed recent infestations on poor household practices such as careless food handling and the dumping of waste and old furniture.

Earlier this week, the municipality delivered leaflets to 5,000 houses in the three areas built under the Mohammed bin Rashid Housing Establishment.

Mr Kanaan said better enforcement of public hygiene laws was also behind the recent decline in rat numbers.

In August, the municipality's Pest Control section joined forces with the Food Control Department to develop an emergency action plan centred on more inspections.

The results of these inspections will be sent to the Food Control Department, and action will be taken against restaurants infested with rodents or cockroaches.

"The best advice is to seal all kinds of openings in buildings, maintain building defects to a minimum and ensure the proper disposal of filth and garbage," Mr Kanaan said.