KUCHING: The haze currently enveloping West Kalimantan is not a threat to Sarawak, according to the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB).
NREB controller Peter Sawal told reporters that thanks to the change in wind pattern, Sarawak appears to be safe from the haze, adding that minimal open burning has also contributed to the haze-free situation.
“From our observation, the wind pattern has changed and we will not experience the haze in this coming two to three weeks,” he said after presenting a briefing on the current status of air quality and environment in Sarawak.
He also said that like Sarawak, West Kalimantan is also enjoying occasional rain which has lessened the impact of the haze, while Indonesian authorities are now also stricter in controlling open burning activities.
Peter added that even though the state was not expected to be affected by trans-boundary haze, NREB would still take precautionary measures to control haze caused by local activities.
“NREB has also stopped issuing permits for open burning for the time being to control air quality,” he said, revealing that up till July this year, the board has issued 38 permits for open burning to several plantation development companies.
For every permit issued, open burning activities are allowed within a period of four days only and if such activities are not completed within that time, they will need to reapply, he said.
As of yesterday, he said three hot spots have been detected – two in Miri and one in Bintulu.
The briefing was held at NREB Sarawak’s office at Menara Pelita in Petra Jaya here, attended by among others the deputy director of the Security and Enforcement Unit in the Chief Minister’s Office, Dato Mohammad Morshidi Mustapha.