A man spraying pesticide inside a wooden cabinet. Image Credit: Agency

Sharjah: Sharjah Municipality have warned the public against using the services of unlicensed pesticide companies in the wake of a 10-year-old Pakistani boy’s death from aluminium phosphide poisoning in Al Nahda on Friday.

Khuzaima Niazi died and his twin sister Komal and parents Shafi and Arifa were hospitalised when the toxic gas came through their air conditioning vent from the adjacent flat.

It was found that the neighbour had been using industrial strength pesticide tablets that are not intended for residential use.

Thabit Salem Al Turaifi, Director General of Sharjah Municipality, said residents should ignore pest control leaflets pushed through doors and only go to authorised companies that are listed on the municipality website Those still in doubt can contact the municipality helpline on 993. Al Turaifi urged residents to always verify pesticide firms to ensure they are licenced to carry out work in residential areas.

“Pesticide companies have to obtain a license from the Department of Economic Development if they intend to fumigate inside people’s homes,” he said. “Necessary measures will be taken against illegal companies, and they will be closed down accordingly.”

Hassan Al Taffaq, Assistant Director-General for Agriculture and the Environment, said that the municipality is constantly in touch with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to stay informed of continuous updates to pesticide products that could adversely affect health.

Wissal Jassim, Director of the Environmental Services Department, also said the municipality were continuously working to spread awareness of the dangers of unlicensed pesticide misuse through warning posters in all entrances of residential buildings throughout the emirate. The role of building watchmen he said was equally important to stop non-licenced vendors from entering the building.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani boy’s twin sister Komal was discharged from hospital on Tuesday. The body of her brother will be handed over to the family on Wednesday ahead of funeral prayers at Sahaba Mosque after Asr prayer.