Cockroaches and rodents are increasingly present in Spanish cities. Faced with this phenomenon, the population already considers pests one of the five problems to be treated more urgently, and places them almost at the same level as housing shortages and improved public transport. These are some of the conclusions of the ‘Study on the perception of Spaniards about urban pests’ by Anticimex, a leading pest control company. The implementation of the report has involved inhabitants of various cities, including Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga or Bilbao.
The problem of rats is one that affects the UK too, as Councils refuse to empty the bins more than once every three weeks. Fly-tipping is becoming more popular as Councils also seek to demand ID, vehicle registration plate checks and staff interrogate consumers regarding the contents of their waste. A more general decline in public behaviour has seen more urinating and defecation on the streets too, which is not helped by public toilets closing for cost reasons.
To put an end to the problem, consider that “we must bet on ecological and sustainable solutions,which control and eliminate pests while respecting the environment and the health of people.”Valls attributes the invasion of insects and rodents to“factors like the migratory flow of large cities and climate change,which have contributed to a significant increase in their presence”.
The study reveals that more than half of the Spanish population that has seen rats or cockroaches has perceived it as a health problem, so they would be willing to move and even change jobs in the face of a pest incident. In this sense, three out of four people actively avoid transiting places where they have identified the presence of pests. The public places where you see more rats and cockroaches are streets, squares, parks, gardens and containers.
The issue also moves to other sectors such as tourism, one of the pillars of the Spanish economy. For six out of ten inhabitants, the pest problem, associated with lack of hygiene, directly affects the reputation and attractiveness ofcities. In the case of restaurants and tourist accommodation, the requirement of a pest control certificate is understood as a fundamental requirement for 80% of the population,a fact that shows a great awareness towards this guarantee.
Demand for sustainable measures
It is also apparent from the study that, in the face of the detection of a pest, seven out of ten people would come to claim the city council as a first option. It is precisely the councils that the population is asking to remedy the issue as soon as possible with a definitive long-term solution. In this sense, the report reflects that more than half of the Spanish population is unhappy with the management that has been done so far and holds municipal governments accountable for not having solved the problem.
But what is the best way to deal with the situation? Most citizens believe that the best option is for public bodies to hire specialized companies to solve pest problems. However, the vast majority are very concerned about the methods used and demand that controls be carried out in a sustainable manner:they demand that detection and eradication are not harmful to human health and that the solutions that are applied do not contain harmful chemical agents.