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LETTER OF THE DAY - Find cheaper methods of ridding Kingston of rats

Published:Wednesday | April 25, 2012 | 12:00 AM


IT IS alarming that New Kingston is infested by rats, to the point that the Government wants $200 million to dispose of the problem.

The rats plague areas that have numerous restaurants and food places. The people that operate the facilities just dump their garbage into refuse bins or trash cans, which are not collected on a timely basis.

Then the rats come, play and feed in the mess and, of course, breed.

For this, the Jamaican consumer and taxpayer have to pay $200 million. Why does it cost so much? Can we get details of what is required to eliminate the rat population, and a breakdown of the costs reviewed by an auditor? Then perhaps we can make some sense of the problem.

The first responsibility is that of the restaurant operators. They must offer some solutions to this problem, by directly and quickly moving their waste or put in some kind of incinerator. Costs relating to this should be paid by them, or a contribution to costs on a regular basis should be extracted.

The cat is a natural predator, and I understand that the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has anywhere from 25 to 50 cats waiting for homes, or euthanasia, which would take place 30 days after the cats are admitted. Placing some cats among the rats should be a first order of business; just the presence of the cats will scare the rats by their odour. But some cats would have to be present at all times, which means some independent living.

Constant monitoring

Other methods I have heard of is the use of ammonia, and natural peppermint oil, placed near rat holes, or over them. These two solutions will require constant monitoring to ensure these chemicals are refreshed.

Overseas, in some Eastern countries, the rats are killed by persons who are paid simply to detach their tails, which you cannot do with a live rat, and they are paid a nominal amount - perhaps the equivalent of $200 for five rat tails. So, now we could include people earning a living from this activity, and giving the unemployable some employment which benefits everyone.

Finally, there are dogs known as 'ratters', who could be brought into the mix: the combination of these factors will create some solutions. But please, let us not waste any money.

Ramesh K. Sujanani