Cloud seeding ordered

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman wants the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry to carry out cloud seeding in Sabah.

“I have spoken to the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau, and asked him to rectify the situation and possibly conduct cloud seeding as soon as possible.

“He informed me that that they were ever ready to conduct cloud seeding but that its success depended on the availability and type of clouds,” Musa said in a statement yesterday.

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation said it is monitoring round-the-clock the haze situation in the country, particularly the one currently blanketing areas in the West Coast of Sabah.

Madius said in a statement yesterday that the ministry through the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) is aware about the situation in the State.

Towards this end, he had instructed MetMalaysia to go ahead with cloud seeding “even if it means Mosti having to bear the expenses.”

According to him, MetMalaysia and the Malaysian Royal Air Force Labuan have been put on stand-by to do the exercise subject to suitable cloud.

Madius was also briefed about the situation during his maiden visit to MetMalaysia headquarters in Petaling Jaya on Monday.

Several areas in Sabah’s West Coast such as Beaufort have recorded an air pollution index of more than 200 while 77 schools in three districts namely, Kuala Penyu, Papar and Beaufort had since been closed due to poor air quality.

Madius had also informed Musa on the status of the situation and MetMalaysia would continue to monitor it very closely.

Meanwhile, Musa, who is worried about the current hazy and dry weather, also said that he had called for a briefing by the State Fire and Rescue Department, the Sabah Meteorological Department and the Department of Environment on the worsening haze situation in Sabah, especially in the west coast.

The situation is worrying because of the diminishing air quality that can cause respiratory problems, and the poor visibility that could pose a safety risk for air and road traffic, he said.

“I am told that the biggest contributor to the haze is the peat forest fires in the Binsuluk Forest Reserve in Beaufort and Kota Klias. I have directed the State Disaster Relief Committee and the respective district level committees to be alert and report of any open burning activities.

“I have also directed the relevant authorities, especially the Fire and Rescue Services Department in all districts, to be vigilant and ever ready to spring into action to overcome any emergency situation,” he said, adding that the personnel are now on 24-hour shifts and working round the clock.

Musa disclosed that the Fire and Rescue Services Department is also coordinating with the Forestry Department to combat the fires in Binsuluk Forest Reserve.

“Meanwhile, I also ask the public to be responsible and not to resort to open burning that would worsen the haze situation. The public should also limit their outdoor activities due to the poor air quality,” he stressed.


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