In Sarawak, state authorities pledge to take action against open burning as haze worsens

A thick haze envelops the Pending bypass at 10am in Kuching September 7, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
A thick haze envelops the Pending bypass at 10am in Kuching September 7, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Sept 10 ― The Sarawak Natural Resources and Environmental Board (NREB) today warned that stern action will be taken against anyone found conducting open burning during the current dry season.

Its controller of environmental quality Justine Jok Jau Emang said NREB is intensifying enforcement efforts against those found involved in open burning.

“We are using drone and satellite images to assist the enforcement teams,” Jok Jau said, adding that the state government is doing its best to tackle the haze situation.

He said anyone caught conducting open burning faces a maximum fine of RM30,000 or an imprisonment of three years or both upon conviction in a court of law.

He appealed to the public to report any incident of open burning to NREB public complaint hotline at 013759 5866.

He said as of yesterday, NREB had detected 68 cases of open burning in Sarawak.

Jok Jau said the haze in Sarawak is reported to be at a moderate level in most districts, except for Kuching, Samarahan and Sri Aman, where unhealthy air quality readings have been recorded following occurrences of bush fires in the region.

He said the situation was mainly caused by transboundary haze from Kalimantan and Sumatra.

“This transboundary haze is a seasonal air pollution affecting South-east Asian countries almost annually,” he said, adding that the south-westerly wind has pushed the transboundary haze from Kalimantan to Sarawak.

He said Kalimantan and Sumatera have contributed to about 97.15 per cent of hotspots for the region, adding that until yesterday, the number of hotspots detected in Kalimantan was 3,106, with Sumatera contributing 1,198 hotspots.

As at 8pm this evening, the Air Pollutant Index (API) for Sri Aman was 170, 129 for Samarahan and 153 for Kuching.

The API for other districts was below 100 or at a moderate level.

Related Articles