Officials must recognise that rat infestation is a serious problem

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 July, 2010, 12:00am

Over the past few weeks there have reports of people in Hong Kong being bitten by rats.

I am not satisfied with the approach taken by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to address this problem.

I do not think it has done much to ensure that there is no repeat of these incidents.

The poor living conditions of some people inevitably attract rats. However, the department appears to have targeted only those areas where the rat attacks occurred.

It should be inspecting and, where necessary, cleaning up other areas that attract vermin because of poor hygiene and other urban problems.

For example, in parts of Hung Hom I see some restaurants which have put out tables and chairs in a bid to attract more customers.

When I walked past some of them the week before last I noticed that there was a lot of discarded food on the pavement which had not been swept up by the restaurant staff.

Food and environmental hygiene officers should be dealing with problems like this.

They must appreciate that, if these black spots are ignored, it could lead to short- and long-term problems with regard to an infestation of vermin in an area.

The government has spent a lot of money on its anti-smoking campaign and has a Tobacco Control Office with a team of officers who ensure the law is obeyed. But it does not appear to be treating the problem of rats on our streets with the same level of importance.

Both issues affect our livelihoods directly, and should be seen as equally important.

The department needs to hire more people to ensure that our streets, throughout Hong Kong, are cleaned in a thorough manner.

Not only would this ensure a better environment for Hong Kong citizens, but it would also create job opportunities.

Percy Leung Pok-lai, Hung Hom