Choose your poison carefully

City health conducts rodent baiting in public spaces and also offers free rodent control services to residents in poorer communities.
City health conducts rodent baiting in public spaces and also offers free rodent control services to residents in poorer communities.

A simple test to see how many cockroaches are lurking in the crevices is to switch a light on outside after dark.

There is no arguing that the warmer months coincide with an increase in flies, cockroaches and rodents.

City health says although pesticide poisoning rates have declined in recent years, the prevalence of deadly illegal pesticides remains a concern.

The department urges residents to steer clear of using illegal pesticides to deal with their pest problems this summer.

Cheap pesticides – like Two-Step, Green Leaf sachets for cockroaches and flies, Aldicarb, liquid poison mixtures, slug granules and insecticide chalk sticks – are still being sold at some corner shops and informal traders. While it might seem like a cost-effective solution to many, users could end up paying with their lives.

City’s Mayco member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien says buying illegal pesticides can have far-reaching effects, including death.

“Many of these products are illegal because they can be lethal to humans or household pets. However, they remain in circulation, because they are effective and affordable,” he says.

Badroodien says users often don’t realise how dangerous these substances are, because there is no usage pamphlet included, or if the product is imported, the packaging contains a foreign language.

“Not only are we concerned about how these products keep making their way into the local market, but also about the accidental ingestion, disposal and impact on the environment.”

City Health is among several agencies on the inter-sectoral Pesticide Poisoning Action Group (PPAG). Other participants are Law Enforcement, the police and the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

PPAG conducts regular pesticide raids, combined with education and awareness about the risks of handling illegal pesticides and how to distinguish between these and legally sanctioned substances.

In the last financial year (July 2018 – June 2019), City Health recorded 32 cases of pesticide poisoning.

“We don’t disagree that summertime pests are a challenge; rather it’s how they are dealt with that needs attention. Flies, roaches and rodents are attracted to food sources presented by household waste and food that’s been left out, including pet food and waste.

“We encourage residents to use this as a starting point which can help them manage the prevalence of pests in their immediate surroundings,” adds Badroodien.

Pest management tips include:

  • Refrain from illegal dumping;
  • Keep household bins or bin bags sealed, dry (where possible) and stored in a cool place;
  • Wash and disinfect your bin after every removal;
  • Keep your refuse bags out of reach of animals; and
  • Collect and dispose of animal faeces daily.

City health conducts rodent baiting in public spaces and also offers free rodent control services to residents in poorer communities. Over a 12-month period in the previous financial year, staff set 110 416 baiting stations for control of rodents.

  • Residents who have complaints related to rodent activity or any other health risks can contact their local environmental health office or clinic. Report illegal dumping at the health office or clinic or by calling the City’s call centre on 0860 103 089.

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