KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — The Department of Environment (DoE) will step up monitoring and enforcement against open burning activities to avoid any untoward incident during the hot and dry season until this March.
Its director-general Norlin Jaafar said the focus would be on seven states, namely Selangor, Johor, Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak which had the highest records of open burning.
“Besides enforcement by our existing manpower strength, the DoE will also be using drones for more expansive monitoring.
“The focus will be on areas prone to fire outbreaks such as peat soil areas and landfills including the illegal ones,” she said as a guest of Bernama Radio's ‘Jendela Fikir’ programme, here, today.
Malaysia is now in phase two of the northeast monsoon, with less rainfall and the weather will be hot and dry until the end of March.
Norlin said those found committing open burning would be taken to court under Section 29A of the Environmental Quality Act 1974 and fined not exceeding RM500,000 or jailed for up to five years, or both, upon conviction.
She said the DoE had also taken certain initiatives such as building drainage barriers and tube wells to retain moisture and avoid fire outbreaks at peat soil areas.
“We also hope that the public will cooperate by acting as eyes and ears for the DoE and reporting to us on any open burning activity so that the irresponsible parties could be taken to court,” she added.
Complaints on open burning can be forwarded to 1-800-88-2727 or the DoE’s official website. — Bernama