Putrajaya working on SOP to curb open burning, minister says

Kenneth Tee
Minister of Energy Technology Science Climate Change and Environment Yeo Bee Yin said the government will introduce a standard operating procedure (SOP) to address the problems caused by open burning. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

KLANG, Sept 1 — The federal government will introduce a standard operating procedure (SOP) to address the problems caused by open burning, especially in peat soil areas, Yeo Bee Yin said today.

The energy, science, technology, environment and climate change minister added that the SOP will focus on preventive action to curb open burning as well as the measures that each relevant agency need to take in the event of a fire.

The draft is expected within a month, she said.

“We must have a working SOP whenever an incident concerning open burning takes place in the country.

“The SOP is needed as a mitigation safeguard to reduce the risk from the effect of open burning activities, especially in peat soil regions,” national news agency Bernama quoted Yeo telling reporters after attending a town hall session on open burning and haze issues with residents from Johan Setia here.

Also present was Department of Environment director-general Datuk Ahmad Kamarul Najuib Che Ibrahim and Sungai Kandis assemblyman Mohd Zawawi Ahmad Mughni.

Yeo said open burning activities have become a major problem for Klang residents, especially those living around Johan Setia for the past 10 years. The surrounding areas have been identified as a peat and Green Revolution agriculture area.

She said her ministry was having difficulties in identifying land owners around Johan Setia that were involved in open burning and would cooperate with local authorities, such as the Selangor state government, to identify those involved so concrete actions could be taken against them.

In addition, she also said environmental laws involving open burning would be amended to ensure more proactive preventive and enforcement measures.

In other developments, Yeo said stern actions will be meted out against illegal plastic recycling factory owners that processed waste imported from western countries.

“The problem still persist even after the government has halted the importation of plastic waste from developed countries to be recycled almost a month ago.

“Therefore I hope the public becomes our eyes and ears by reporting to their respective elected representatives or local councillors if they come across any illegal plastic recycling factory operators in their area,” she was quoted saying.

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