KUCHING: Local farmers and plantation owners are urged not to conduct open burning as the state is expecting haze and dry weather.
Natural Resources and Environment Board Sarawak (NREB) Controller Peter Sawal said the board had stopped issuing permit for open burning since July.
“Therefore, any open burning activities spotted are illegal. With technology such as satellite imagery solutions and digital map data, we can detect any open burning accurately. We will not hesitate to take action against such irresponsible activities that could worsen the haze in the state. Offenders can be fined up to RM30,000,” he said.
Sarawak, he said, was forecast to experience hot and dry whether until September.
“Although we do not expect it (haze) to be as serious as in previous years, it will still affect us due to cross border haze from Kalimantan and wind direction. It’s predicted the situation will improve next month, with more rain,” he said.
NREB and other relevant agencies are monitoring the situation on the ground closely, particular forest fires and open burning which can spread easily.
As of yesterday (Monday), he said, 131 hotspots were detected in Kalimantan and seven in Sarawak.
There were two hotspots in Kuching, three in Mukah, and one each in Sri Aman and Sarikei.
Some areas such as Kuching, Serian, Sibu, Mukah and Bintulu were experiencing haze. However, the Air Pollution Index (API) readings were still below 100.
“People living in the northern part, such as Lawas and Limbang are still enjoying clear air and good weather,” he said.
Peter was speaking to the reporters at a press conference after the 10th Better Air Quality Conference (BAQ) at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here today.
The BAQ, a biennial conference, themed “Regional Action, Global Impact” will be held in at BCCK from Nov 14 to 16.
The event focuses on transformative action and technological innovation in Asia for clean air and livable cities, he added. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd