KUALA LUMPUR: Trans-boundary haze pollution affecting the country following the southwest monsoon season is expected to continue until September.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said moderate smoke haze from fires in Riau province, Central Sumatra, Indonesia would be brought to the central west coast of the Peninsular by south-westerly winds.
This was reflected by the regional haze map and satellite imagery map by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released Sunday by the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) based in Singapore.
"The ASMC also reported 116 hot spots detected by NOAA satellite image 18 in Sumatra on June 22," he said in a statement Monday.
In addition, 11 hot spots were detected in Malaysia, with four in Sabah, three in Selangor, two in Negri Sembilan and one each in Malacca and Pahang.
He said the Ministry, through the Department of Environment (DOE), had taken several initial steps to deal with the effects of the dry spell, southwest monsoon and impact of the El Nino phenomenon, including an action plan to control open burning nationwide from February.
An open burning prohibition order had been issued since March to date for Selangor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, while 194 DOE officers were empowered to arrest suspected environment criminals without a warrant, he said.
Palanivel said that based on DOE investigations, 3,936 cases involving 1,257 burnings were traced to agricultural areas, bushland areas (913), forests (833), small-scale open burning (716), construction areas (117), landfills (69) and industrial areas (31) between from January.
"For the same period, 276 cases of open burning are compounded and 87 cases are issued warning notices," he said, adding that 43 investigation papers for open-burning offences had been opened for prosecution in court. - Bernama