Sunday, September 27

Open burning allowed for now

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SIBU: Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) has not revoked the open burning permits to companies and individuals as the weather condition in Sarawak is still under control.

Deputy controller Jiram Sidu in stating this yesterday, stressed that they would only do so when the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading reached 100.

Meanwhile, the Air Pollutant Index (API) from the Department of Environment’s (DOE) website showed that most places in Sarawak experienced moderate air quality as at 11am yesterday.

Bintulu had the highest API reading in the state at 75, followed by ILP Miri (72) and Sarikei (70).

The API readings for other districts in Sarawak were Kapit (60); Kuching (58); Limbang (56); Miri (65); Samarahan (59); Sibu (67), and Sri Aman (60).

“Moderate API readings are recorded in most places in the state, showing that the air quality is at moderate level.

“If there is no risk involved in burning, we can still issue the open burning permit to allow planters to clear up their land for cultivation purposes.

“Unless the weather condition does not permit, we will definitely revoke the permit,” Jiram told The Borneo Post.

He was asked if the permit for open burning for companies and individuals in the state had been revoked following the prevailing hot weather.

Jiram recalled that they had taken action against several cases of open burning without permit last year.

“The offenders were compounded where the maximum compound can go up to RM9,000.”

He further warned that open burning without permit could be slapped with a hefty fine if charged in court.

Asked on backyard burning, he noticed that this was done in urban areas.

This activity, he pointed out, should be discouraged.

DOE’s website recorded 84 per cent of the country having moderate air quality; nine per cent was
good while seven per cent experienced unhealthy air quality.

The API guide from DOE indicated reading from 0-50 (healthy); 51-100 (moderate); 101-200 (unhealthy); 201-300 (very unhealthy) and 301 and above (hazardous).

Meanwhile, Fire and Rescue Services Department (Bomba) Sibu zone chief Abdul Mutalib Rashid advised those
who carry out open burning on their land for cultivation or farming purposes, to take precautions, including ensuring that the fires are put out before leaving the area.