Kuching: Parts of Sarawak saw improvements in Air Pollutant Index (API) reading between good and moderate.
This dry and hot season caused by El Niño since September is expected to impact parts of South-East Asia from time to time until middle of next year. An estimated lower-than-average rainfall conditions will occur in some areas within the region.
The nation is advised to brace themselves for the upcoming dry season and take preventive measures to avoid peat soil fires or forest fires.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar had previously announced the activation of tube wells in peat soil areas to dampen the ground and avoid outbreak of fires.
“We have improved the condition of peat soil in the whole country and reviewed the tube wells which we have installed around our forest areas,” said Dr Wan Junaidi during a press conference.
He said more programmes to install tube wells would be implemented next year.
Tube wells is a water well where a long stainless steel pipe of 100 to 200m-wide is drilled into an underground aquifer. Its lower end is fitted with a filter while a pump at the top draws water for irrigation.
“I hope that my ministry as well as the Rural Development Ministry and the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry can be given enough allocation to build the tube wells so that we can manage the forest and keep the peat soil damp to prevent forest fire, said Dr Wan Junaidi.
Indonesian delegates will visit Malaysia to learn about the tube well system installed in the peat soil and forest area areas in the country.
Dr Wan Junaidi warned farmers, livestock breeders, waste disposal management companies and the public to stop carrying out open burning.
“I have also warned the public through the Environment Department of Sarawak to not carry out open burning, especially if they are living near the forest, because the dry ground will spread the fire to the forest,” he said.
On a related matter, he said Malaysia’s Bombardier amphibious aircraft used for “water bombing” was still operating in Indonesia until end of this week to put out forest fires.
Meanwhile, 92 individuals from the Santubong parliamentary constituency received an emergency education aid amounting to about RM56,000.
Recipients are pursuing either a professional certification, diploma and Bachelor degree in a private or public institution.
Those studying for certificate received RM300, Diploma students get RM500 while RM700 is given to Bachelor degree students.
Dr Wan Junaidi distributed the aid to the recipients.