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Stagnant water: Checks on building sites
Published on: Thursday, April 29, 2021
By: Sidney Skinner
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Another view of the clogged drain.
THE developers of commercial centres in Penampang and Kepayan should be mindful that the pockets of water on their separate properties do not become a habitat for mosquitoes.

A mini lake has formed on the land where the former is being built while water is stagnating in the drain at one part of the latter.

Those living nearby are concerned that Aedes mosquitoes might be breeding in the water collecting in these areas. 

They feared the possibility coming down with dengue fever, should this be the case.

Both homeowners provided Hotline with the location of the commercial centres in question. This information was forwarded to the District Council.

A spokesman for the agency allayed their fears of a dengue outbreak taking place in their neighbourhoods.

He said no Aedes larvae were found at the construction site or inside the drain during an inspection conducted by the Council’s staff, together with their peers from the Penampang Health Office (PHO).

It looks like a small lake has formed on the grounds of the construction - site.

“They noted that the water pooling at the half-finished commercial centre resembled a lake,” he said.

“However, they also observed that there were tilapias and guppies inside.”

The fish, set free by the developer, apparently fed on any mosquito larvae floating on the surface of the water, according to him.

He said work to complete the building had stalled because of the restrictions imposed during the previous Movement Control Order and Conditional Movement Control Orders.

“Rain water had apparently pooled on the site when construction activities were disallowed. 

“The developer assured us that the firm was doing its best to finish the building, including the outlets for the drains around the property, as quickly as it could.

“In the meantime, the company has taken to fogging the site on a weekly basis to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the lake.”

In the case of the Kepayan commercial centre, the spokesman said the developer was instructed to improve the drainage around the property.

He said a check of the Council’s records found that the drains were maintained by the firm as they had yet to be handed over to the agency.

“Our personnel observed that the water not flowing properly in one of the drains. This was causing it to stagnate,” he said.

“The developer was asked to step up efforts to clean the drain, as well as address any structural problems which may be impeding the flow of water inside.”

He said an irregularity was also found with the outlet for the drainage during the inspection. 

“Our staff noted that the run-off emptied onto the vacant land beside the commercial centre.

“The Council is assisting the developer to identify the owner of the property in question so that the company can sort of this matter.”

The spokesman said a chemical was applied to the surface of the water in the drain, to exterminate any larvae inside, at the end of the inspection. 

He said the Council and PHO would be keeping an eye on the goings-on at both commercial centres to ensure that any nuisance posed by mosquitoes there was kept to a minimum. 

A spokeswoman for the latter warned that the Department would not hesitate to penalise either company for allowing potential mosquito breeding grounds to form on their properties.

“Should we find that the pools of are a result of the developer’s failure to provide adequate drains or service these structures, then we will have no choice but to take them to task for contributing to the mosquito-problem in the area,” she said.

Under Section 13 of the Department’s Destruction of Disease-bearing Insects Act 1975:

 (1) No person shall do or perform any act which may, or is liable to, create such conditions as may likely to propagate or harbour disease-bearing insects or permit or allow such conditions to arise or continue.

(2) Any person who contravenes subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence under this Act.

She said the culprits risked being slapped with a RM500 compound.

“Should they be found guilty in court, first time offenders face the possibility of having to pay a fine of up to RM10, 000, serve a jail-term of up to two years, or both.

“Repeat offenders, meanwhile, might have to shoulder a fine of up to RM50, 000, a prison sentence of up to five years, or both.”

ELVIE of Penampang voiced her misgivings about the water ponding on the grounds of a construction site near the PadiMas housing area.

“The shopping centre, which was coming up here, has been left half done,” she said.

“The area looks abandoned and, to make matters worse, the rain water has been collecting at one section of the property.”

Elvie described this pool of water as being the size of a small lake.

“I have noticed an increase in the number of mosquitoes hovering about inside my house.

“This has made me wonder if the insects are breeding inside the water.”

THEA of Kepayan lamented the poor management of the drains for the Pintas Avenue Commercial Centre.

She has noticed that the water in one of these structures, located off Lorong Kg Kohizan, takes a long time to recede.

“I suspect that the run-off is stagnating, as when the weather is hot, a stench wafts into our homes from the direction of the drain,” she said.

She feared that the drainage problems might begin to threaten the well-being of rate-payers there.

“I have been awoken at night so many times off late by the sound of mosquitoes buzzing around my ears.

“I suspect that Aedes mosquitoes might have made a home inside the drain and fear that there could be a dengue outbreak in my neighbourhood.”

Thea hoped the local authorities would intervene on the drainage woes there as soon as possible.

“There is no point fogging after dengue cases are reported if preventative measures, such as dealing with the drainage problem, are not going to be implemented.”



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