familiar sight: Fogging is done far too often for the liking of DSO residents

DUBAI: Residents of Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) are up in arms against the regular fumigation being done in the community to drive away mosquitoes.
It’s believed the fumigation resulted in the death of a pet bird last month.

Residents told XPRESS that “chemical fogging” takes place regularly in the Cedre and Semmer Villa communities. But they cannot fathom why community managers are fumigating the area and, worse still, why they are not disclosing the chemicals. They said they cannot take their children or pets outside during and after the fogging exercise, which makes it difficult for them to lead a normal community life.

Mohammad Al Kamda, environmental expert and resident of Cedre Villas, said, “I have been living here for a year now and I have not seen any huge mosquito problem. So I don’t understand why they are fumigating the area. What bothers me is that they are not disclosing the chemicals or the concentration in which they are used. This is very dangerous.”

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A mother of two kids at Semmer Villas said: “We get e-mails telling us not to come out in the open during the fogging. This is so scary, especially since my kids are small – seven and three years of age. We are afraid to stay even indoors during such times.”

Angry residents are demanding an answer on the nature of the chemicals being used. “I have already lost one of my pet birds on the morning of May 23 after the fogging. I demand to know what chemicals are being used and a complete stop to fumigation in the area,” said a resident on the community forum website.

“The problem with chemical fogging is that the mosquitoes seem to end up in my garden. It gets worse every time we get fogged,” said another.

Al Kamda said even if there is a mosquito problem, there are other ways to deal with it in a residential community. “What we need is better water management and use of suitable plants like catnip to keep mosquitoes at bay. We certainly don’t need fumigation.”

Responding to queries sent by XPRESS, the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) said in a statement, “We consider it our utmost priority to provide a safe and healthy community environment, based on the standards set by the UAE … In order to ensure that the development is well-maintained, we conduct periodic pesticide spraying through a Dubai Municipality-approved supplier, using best practice and latest methods and chemicals that are authorised by Dubai Municipality and Ministry of Environment and Water and cause no harm to people. In order to safeguard the well-being of our residents, DSOA offers advance notification to help community members as an extra care to take necessary precautions during pest control exercises.”

It added, “For further information related to chemicals used, please liaise with Dubai Municipality - Environment Section.”