Open burning culprits to face stern action

Open burning is an offence under Section 29A of the Environmental Quality Act 1974. - Filepic

JOHOR BARU: Johor Fire and Rescue Department has warned the public not to carry out open burning activities, even now during the rainy weather.

Johor Fire and Rescue Department director Datuk Yahaya Madis said it was found that many were resorting to burning their rubbish out in the open, including overgrown grass on their land.

“Maybe they think it is safe to do this during the current rainy spell but it is not. Open burning is dangerous and an irresponsible act.

“The fire may spread and damage properties and lives as well as pollute the environment, ” said Yahaya, adding that stern action would be taken against those caught for this.

He said the people must care for the environment they live in and protect it at all times.

“A bush fire was reported in Kota Masai, Pasir Gudang and firemen prevented it from spreading.

“The action by some irresponsible people polluted the air and could have affected lives, ” he said.

On the open burning resulting in 700 hotspots in Kalimantan, Indonesia, Yahaya said so far Johor was not affected by this action.

“We have discussed this matter with the Environment Department (DOE) and based on their findings, there are no hotspots in the state, ” he said.

Yahya disclosed that up until March this year, the department had received 1,130 reports of open burning, with 717 of the cases reported involving bush fire.

“The department wishes to remind the public to refrain from conducting open burning activities.

“If they see any open burning activities, call DOE on their 24-hour toll-free line at 1-800-88-2727, ” he added.

Johor DOE director Mohd Famey Yusoff said the public must heed Johor Fire and Rescue Department’s call to stop open burning activities.

“The act is an offence under Section 29A of the Environmental Quality Act 1974, which carries jail term up to five years or a maximum fine of RM500,000 or both, ” he said.

Johor health and environment committee chairman R. Vidyananthan said caring for the environment should not just be during the Covid-19 pandemic but be an ongoing effort to ensure the general health of the society.

“A clean and safe environment will help keep away diseases and keep us healthy.

“Besides the authorities, the people must do their part and care for the environment they live in, ” said Vidyananthan, adding threats such as haze or dengue could be minimised.

“DOE will continue to monitor the situation in the state, ” he said.

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