City of Cape Town issues pesticide warning as residents reach for roach poisons


If the summer cockroaches in your home are getting big enough to demand cultery and a napkin, it might be tempting to turn to a range of illegal pesticides to reclaim your territory. 

However, the City of Cape Town has warned that getting rid of the cockroaches and their fellow food seekers, the flies and rodents that come with the warmer weather, needs to be done safely.

"In the last financial year (July 2018 – Jun 2019), City Health recorded 32 cases of pesticide poisoning," said Health MMC Zahid Badroodien.

He said people often did not realise how dangerous certain products were because there either was no package insert, or it was in a foreign language. 

He named Two-Step, Green Leaf sachets for cockroaches and flies, Aldicarb, liquid poison mixtures, slug granules and insecticide chalk sticks as some of the products to be particularly careful with.

Badroodien said many of these products were illegal, but they were used because they were cheap and effective, particularly for residents who could not afford to bring in pest control companies. 

"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," he said. 

The City's health department is among a number of agencies on the inter-sectoral Pesticide Poisoning Action Group. Other participants are Law Enforcement, Metro Police, the South African Police Service and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The Pesticide Poisoning Action Group conducts regular pesticide raids, combined with education and awareness on the risks of handling illegal pesticides, and how to distinguish between these and legally sanctioned substances.

"We don't disagree that summertime pests are a challenge; rather it’s the way in which they are dealt with that needs attention." 

Some tips to keep pests at bay

He said these pests were attracted to household waste, and food that had been left out, including pet food. 

Some tips to control the pests 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;

-          Collect and dispose of animal faeces on a daily basis.

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

Over the course of 12 months in the previous financial year, staff set 110 416 baiting stations for control of rodents.

Residents are advised to contact their local Environmental Health Office or clinic if they have complaints related to rodent activity or any other health risks.

Illegal dumping can also be reported in this manner, or by contacting the City’s call centre on 0860 103 089. 

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