SINGAPORE: The National Environment Agency (NEA) said it has stepped up efforts to clear leaf litter during the current dry season to guard against mosquito breeding.
The current dry spell has led to heavy leaf shedding and an accumulation of leaves in some public areas.
Compared to December 2013 - where approximately 1,400 tonnes of litter from street sweepings was collected - the amount has increased by about 15 per cent and 25 per cent in January and February 2014 respectively.
NEA said this increase is attributed to the additional amount of leaf litter removed from the streets.
The additional 350 tonnes of leaf litter collected in February is equivalent to 70,000 filled rubbish bags.
Workers are now removing an average of 30 bags of leaf litter from street sweepings as compared to 10 bags previously.
The increase in leaf litter has resulted in longer time needed to clean the same stretch of road, pavement or drain.
Repeated leaf fall after the scheduled cleaning rounds have also contributed to the perception of incomplete or inadequate cleaning.
NEA said it is closely monitoring the situation and has stepped up the pace of cleaning during this period in dengue cluster areas and areas with high mosquito feedback, particularly private estates with open drains.
To ensure any build-up of leaf litter is cleared quickly, NEA has also arranged for additional cleaning at 71 locations apart from the regular cleaning schedule and is working with PUB, the national water agency, to step up monitoring efforts along drains at 108 locations.
Town councils and land agencies are also increasing their drain cleaning frequencies to prevent build-up of leaf litter.
NEA has also observed an increase in the number of Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes during this period.
More breeding sites have been detected islandwide, from 30 at the beginning of January to 250 in mid-February.
As the Culex mosquito tends to breed in outdoor areas, notably in stagnant water with high organic content, the increased efforts to clear leaf litter will also help in reducing potential breeding habitats. - CNA/xq
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