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South Africa – Rats running wild in major cities

Rats running wild in SA’s major cities

If South Africa’s city dwellers think they smell a rat, they probably do: the rodents are thriving in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and East London.

Migration to cities, a growing number of informal settlements, street vendors and poor waste management by municipalities, business and homeowners are among factors responsible for the population explosion of these dirty pest.

Now city authorities, who are responsible for maintaining hygiene, are having to fork out millions to kill the vermin. But officials say they cannot keep urban centres clean by themselves and residents need to play their part.

Pamela Mudley, the marketing manager of a leading pest control firm, said Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town were “in an advanced state of infestation”.

“The lack of proper hygiene standards in the major cities has been a contributory factor to the increased numbers of rodents,” she said. Rats transmit a wide range of diseases including salmonellosis, typhus, rat bite fever and trichinosis.

Dr Ivan Bromfield, executive director, Cape Town City Health, confirmed there was “a significant rodent population in the city”, made worse by the fact that refuse was collected only once a eeek in residential areas. “In the last decade, the number of informal settlements has increased significantly with accompanying waste management challenges ,” said Bromfield.

The CBD, restaurants, informal settlements, harbour and transport hubs were worst infested. The city is spending R500000 on poison alone to exterminate rats this year.

Johannesburg city health department spokesman Nkosinathi Nkabinde said abandoned buildings in the inner city, extensive illegal dumping and dirty back yards had increased the rodent problem.

“The city of Johannesburg spends approximately R15-million annually … on pesticides, health education, and paying the salaries of about 70 personnel,” said Nkabinde.

The money was also used for the extermination of cockroaches, bees and mosquitoes.

Source: Aug 2, 2009 – http://www.thetimes.co.za/PrintEdition/Article.aspx?id=1043334

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Categories: South Africa
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