‘Open burning on peat soil gives rise to dreaded haze’


Datuk Dr James Dawos

KUCHING: Open burning on peat soil is said to be the cause of thick haze and drop in air quality affecting many parts of the peninsula.

Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Datuk Dr James Dawos, who noted this, said the haze affecting the peninsula and which spread to Sabah and Sarawak had come mainly from open burning for commercial crop farming activities in Sumatra, Indonesia.

He pointed out that fires on peat soil takes longer to extinguish as the fire would spread to the undergrowth and emitting a lot of smoke as well as causing air pollution.

“It is different from fire on soils especially on hilly terrain,” he said, when sharing his thoughts on the recent haze while speaking at the Ngiling Tikai (closing of Gawai) organised by the Rela Unit of Batu Gong at the Siburan Community Hall on Saturday night.

Dawos, who was recently elected to his fourth term as Mambong MP, believed the haze would affect most parts of Malaysia until September because of agriculture-clearing activities taking place here and in neighbouring countries.

The haze saw air quality deteriorating in most parts of this country in June. It reached its height when Muar in Johor recorded ‘hazardous’ air quality after the air pollutant index (API) reading hit 453 on June 22.

In Sarawak and Sabah, the air quality was moderate (API between 51-100) but visibility was affected by the thick haze.

On another note, Dawos called on members of Rela to continue assisting the government in maintaining peace and order in their respective areas. Also present were Rela Padawan district officer Mejar Jat Jein and the Siburan Iban Penghulu Muari Jugan.