Environment Department monitors peatland fires


KUALA LUMPUR: The Environment Department has raised concern over possible increase in peatland and forest fires in the country due to the current dry season.

Its director Datuk Dr Ahmad Kamarulnajuib Che Ibrahim said several fire prone areas have been identified and were being closely monitored.

"Our concern are peatlands in Johan Setia, Klang, northern and southern part of the Kuala Langat Forest Reserve, and bushes and peat areas in Dengkil,” he said.

“In Pahang, Rompin, Bera and Pekan are our worry. In Sarawak, hotspots included Miri, Kuala Baram, Permy Jaya, and Mukah's peatland area.

“In Terengganu, fire prone areas included Kampung Tok Kah, Besut and Dungun peatland. While in Kelantan, Bachok peatland area has been identified as a hotspot.” he said.

When asked about the use of cloud seeding to control the haze problem, Ahmad said the number of operations needed would depend on how long the haze would last.

On Friday, Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the cloud seeding operations could only be done with enough presence of clouds.

She reportedly said that the haze situation was bad especially in the north of Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak.

As of 5pm today, the highest Permy Jaya in Sarawak recorded "very unhealthy" Air Pollutant Index (KPI) of 226 while Tawau, Sabah recorded “good” of 48.

A reading of 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 moderate and 101-200 unhealthy. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd