Shopkeeper Janniba Davidsson in Rinkeby, Stockholm, has kept a trap that caught about twenty cockroaches in her shop. She thinks they are coming back. Photo: Sven Hultberg Carlsson/SR
Infestations in Stockholm

Shopkeepers face cockroaches and rats

"My eyes and bodies start itching from the chemicals"
3:30 min

Four years ago, Swedish Television found mold and cockroaches in many apartments in Malmö in the south. And after three years of renovations, reports by Swedish Radio this week show that the problems still persist, in Malmö as well as in Stockholm and Uppsala. 

"This is pretty disgusting, I do not even want to touch it," says Janniba Davidsson, a shopkeeper in Rinkeby north of Stockholm's centre, as she shows parts of her ceiling that were flooded by the toilet above her shop.

"There are about twenty cockroaches, or more, in this trap. It usually takes about a week for it to fill up," Janniba Davidsson, who runs a shop in Rinkeby Galleria north of Stockholm's centre. She says that for several years, shops here have had problems with cockroaches, rats and leakages from toilet sewers.

Ala, whose shop is on the basement floor, showed images of a rat ten centimeter long rat he killed in the summer. Now, he says, there are no insects or rats, but the chemicals used to root them out has given him a cough and itchy skin. "The chemicals are very strong. Our eyes and bodies start itching," Ala says.

FastPartner, the landlord who took over the building in December last year, refers to a recent visit by the Association of Environmental Health Professionals that said there are no vermin in the building.

Its local boss, Kenneth Seremet, says the company has only received one complaint, and that was last week. "Other than that, we have heard nothing from other tenants, only from that one shop," Seremet says.

But Janniba Davidsson says the problem is more widespread. "A lot of shops have cockroaches, but they come to me because I chair the tenants' associations. Most of them are quire worried," she says.

She and other shop owners have stopped paying their rent in protest. They are now involved in a legal dispute with the company.

Carlos Rojas is a consultant who researches the "million programme", the construction project in the 1960s and 70s that built around a million new apartments. He conducts polls among the people who live there. He thinks land lords at large care less about living conditions in those often multi-national areas than they do elsewhere.

"The difference in the zones that have more inahbitants with international backgrounds is that the companies care less for them. That way, the whole community of cockroaches takes over in ways they are not allowed to in other areas," Carlos Rojas says.

Anticimex, a pest control company, says it doesn't see a higher prevalence of vermin in areas with housing built during the million programme.

A shopkeeper in the mall says that he and other vendors do not know where to turn to complain. If people in Rinkeby mall were "Swedish", he says, they would be treated differently. "Here, they do nothing about the problems. Only in their other malls. That's the way it is."

In a call to Radio Sweden, Fast Partner says that is untrue, and that they have spent more time and resources taking care of the problem in Rinkeby and in neighbouring Tensta than they have at their other malls.

Reporter: Sven Hultberg Carlsson

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