Outdoor fogging ineffective, hurts wildlife

posted in: Miscellaneous | 1

1. Lee Chiu San’s letter to the Straits Times Forum Online (22nd December 2015) on the destructive nature of outdoor fogging…

“I was appalled to see the Lorong Halus Wetland nature area being fogged recently when I was there.

“Fogging is extremely destructive to all forms of wildlife. It kills all insects, worms and fishes, the very organisms that migratory birds, which are now visiting Singapore, depend upon for food.

“If such fogging continues, Singapore will never be able to create nature areas that can be recognised as internationally significant.

“The Lorong Halus Wetland was, for the decades before it gained official recognition, a favourite hang-out of knowledgeable birdwatchers who knew it as the home of many rare species.

“Recently combined with the Punggol Waterway and Coney Island, these areas together make up a green lung that has the potential to match or even surpass the world-famous bird sanctuary in Sungei Buloh.

“The area has become popular with hikers, fitness enthusiasts and many others who just want to enjoy strolling in natural surroundings.

“The combined area is also part of our national reservoir system.

“It is unimaginable that people would like pesticides in their drinking water.

“In any case, outdoor fogging is ineffective as a means of controlling dengue, which is caused primarily by the Aedes mosquito, which breeds in human habitations.

“Those in charge must stop such indiscriminate use of pesticides.

“They kill not only insects but higher forms of life as well.”

2. Ridzuan Ismail, Director, Catchment and Waterways Department of the Public Utilities Board responded on 24th December 2015…

“PUB, the national water agency, thanks Mr Lee Chiu San for his feedback (“Outdoor fogging ineffective, hurts wildlife”; Forum Online, Dec 22).

“The fogging at Lorong Halus Wetland is carried out by PUB to keep the midge population in check.

“While midges are part of the aquatic ecosystem and do not bite, or carry or spread diseases, we have carried out fogging to minimise the nuisance that a mass emergence of midges brings to park users and residents.

“Fogging is currently conducted twice weekly. We will monitor and step down on the fogging frequency if the midge situation improves.

“The pesticides used for fogging are biodegradable. They have undergone the World Health Organisation (WHO) Pesticide Evaluation Scheme and have been certified safe and suitable for use by the WHO.

“The concentration used in fogging is carefully controlled to be at its lowest effective dosage to minimise risks to the environment.

“The pesticides can also be effectively removed during the water treatment process.

“PUB monitors raw water in our reservoirs closely and the raw water is treated at the waterworks to WHO drinking water quality guidelines before it is supplied to households.

“Nevertheless, members of the public who are sensitive to fogging may wish to avoid close proximity during fogging operations.

“PUB welcomes public feedback and members of the public can call the PUB 24-hour call centre on 1800-2255 782 (1800-Call PUB) or e-mail PUB_One@pub.gov.sg”

3. Lee Chou San’s additional comment…

“Midges are harmless, as the PUB admits. They and their larvae are also important components in the food chain, sustaining both fish and birds. Without food, how can we have wildlife? And, I have been keeping fish for over 60 years. I have yet to come across a pesticide that will kill insects but which is harmless to fish.”

  1. Am

    It’s sad. I strongly agree with and support Chiu San’s views. Are the public complaining about the midges? If not, why is the fogging being carried out?!

    I thought fogging was primarily done to reduce mosquitoes, not midges (which do not bite – I get some in my garden too and concur that they are perfectly harmless and important for my fish), as mosquitoes can be vectors of disease and are a nuisance. But even so, fogging should not be done in wild habitats or geographical areas like natural forests, catchment areas, etc where there is a much higher probability of greater biodiversity. Nature should be left alone in such places.

    I am increasingly irked at the way this country is being run. There is never any satisfactory explanation behind many government actions. And voicing one’s concerns through the standard bureaucratic feedback channels only produces canned auto-responses 95% of the time.

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