SINGAPORE – While Mr Nashrudin R. Azaman’s job is to eliminate pests, he claims that his role is more like a “pest doctor”, rather than a serial killer.
“I don’t believe it is a good idea go to a (pest infested) area, do (a chemical spray) and kill the bugs. Aardwolf Pestkare’s senior foreman said that they are in the professional pest management line.
He and his team prefer to tackle the problem by pestproofing a place, clearing the source (e.g. a flowerpot containing mosquito larvae), and then pest-proofing the area. Mr Nashrudin (33) stressed that the only option is to use pesticides and fogging. He has been with the company nearly 13 years.
He was one of 27 employees from the environmental services industry who received the annual ES Star Awards on Thursday (16 December).
The National Environment Agency (NEA) organizes the awards to honor workers in the cleaning, waste management, and pest management lines. The award winners will also be awarded $100 gift vouchers.
Additional 389 employees in the ES industry will receive certificates of excellence and $50 gift coupons.
Tan See Leng, the Manpower Minister, was the guest-of-honor at the ceremony at the Environment Building in Scotts Road. He stated that 2021 was a difficult year for workers in the ES sector due to manpower constraints arising out of a number of workers with Covid-19and many other workers quarantined.
“This is in addition, to employees having to cope with fatigue and wear out against the backdrop rising Covid-19 case numbers.
“Nevertheless, our environmental service heroes continued to fulfill their duties to uphold Singapore’s public health defenses by ensuring a safe and clean environment for everyone,” he said.
Dr Tan pointed out that the Progressive Wage Model (for cleaning and soon for waste management) will help raise wages, improve workers’ skills, and provide clearer progression paths.
The NEA highlighted Thursday that the key focus areas for addressing manpower constraints are increasing technology adoption in the ES sector and attracting younger people into the sector.
Ms. Hong Peiyu (38), was one of 27 ES Star Awards recipients. She joined the service as a result of a career change programme under Workforce Singapore.
She is currently the operations executive at TEE Environmental, an integrated waste management company. She joined the waste collection crew to learn about workflow. She helped cut down two routes and reduce fuel consumption.
Ms. Hong was previously a saleswoman at a food and drink distribution company.
She also noted that the industry is traditionally male-dominated. “As the country is promoting (working) towards zero-waste nation I decided to give it a shot and contribute to the environment industry,” said Ms Hong.
Ingenuity is also required in this work, as Mr Nashrudin could attest to in his fight with a clever rat that left bacteria-ridden droppings in a Holland Village restaurant and then ate raw ingredients.
The rodent was able escape traps so he had to set up cameras and sensors to track its movements. They finally managed to get the rodent out of the area.