Rats love cities just as much as people do, a phenomenon that has been a problem for centuries. Dubai Sustainable City is now using smart devices from Danish RATMO to sustainably address the issue.
Ratmo’s sensors – and mobile app – are designed with both the user and the environment in mind. This Danish invented device transforms a conventional rat trap into a remote sensor and data collector. “Traditional traps use pesticides, around 600 grams per year per trap. These pesticides end up in nature: a rat eats the poison, and it takes about four days before the animal dies at another location than the trap”, said Jan Holm Pedersen CEO from Ratmo Middle East.
“As a consequence the poison ends up in nature, in the ground or in the belly of another animal like a cat or a dog. If you look at the Emirate of Dubai alone it means that more than 60,000 kg of these pesticides end up back in nature. That is huge problem”, Pedersen adds.
“If Dubai would support the industry with just AED10m per annum, we could reduce pesticide consumption by more than 60,000 kg and at the same time make Dubai the smartest city in the World with regards rodent management”, he concludes.
One of the crucial benefits of the traps is that they require no poison. Rat poison is a serious threat to the global ecosystem. A recent Norwegian study showed that half of the population of red foxes in Norway were found to have eaten rat poison. Owls and other birds of prey in many parts of the world die after eating poisoned rodents.
When a RATMO trap is activated, the staff is immediately alerted, enabling quick disposal of the corpse and resetting of the trap. A sensor on the trap records the trap activation time and temperature, and gives a signal to the monitoring system via GPS. The pest control or facilities management team can use the Ratmo app to record the type of bait, and time of trap activation enabling the facility manager to get a much clearer idea of the extent of the rat problem, their behaviour and favourite foods.
Karim El-Jisr Executive Director, Diamond Innovation Center at Dubai Sustainable City, said: “When we were using poison, we had no idea how many rats were visiting our traps and therefore how big a rat population we had. Ratmo’s app provides us with an excellent graphical overview of matters such as the catchment area, time of catch, trap effectiveness, site visit patterns, etc.”
El-Jisr adds that with the new method the rats are killed in a direct way without harming pets, wildlife or any other aspects of the Sustainable City environment. “We have the ambition to roll the smart traps out across the City over the next six months”, said El-Jisr.
In the first year after its introduction in the UAE, RATMO has already signed up major players in the market as their customers. “We are growing rapidly. Smart rat catching is the future”, Pedersen emphasizes.
The company is now active in all seven Emirates. It has ambitions to expand to Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar.