Palma council's water board EMAYA, yesterday announced that it is to launch a major campaign to rid parts of the city of rats. Over the past few weeks, shopkeepers in and around calle Josep Tour i Ferrer have reported a number of sightings of groups of rats scuttling in and out of the drains and road works. On Tuesday this week, one of the local residents reported a sighting to EMAYA and demanded immediate action be taken. But public alarm was finally raised on the very same day, when the company contracted to check the city's sewers for rats and keep the rodent population under control, suddenly started operating above ground spraying pesticides in one of the nearby streets. Yesterday the company was forced to admit that it has been fumigating for rats both inside and outside city buildings. The pesticides used apparently take effect between three to four days, after having been put down, and it appears that the main reason for the recent increase in the number of rats is the huge amount of building and excavating work being carried out in the city centre - combined with the recent surge in temperatures. Some of the shopkeepers in the effected zone of Palma, which the majority of residents slammed as one of the dirtiest cities in Spain last year, said yesterday that they are very pleased that effective action has been taken and that by the start of next week the problem should be resolved.

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