MIRI: The Sarawak government has ordered cloud seeding to be conducted urgently over the Lawas and Miri divisions in northern Sarawak to prevent the haze problem from recurring.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam, who is also State Disaster Relief Committee chairman, said an aircraft armed with rain-inducing compounds would be sent to the Lawas Division tomorrow.
All efforts will be made to prevent a repeat of the haze problem that we faced in 1997,'' he said.
Dr Chan said the weather seemed to be getting drier in the northern parts of the state.
On Monday, we will start cloud seeding in Lawas Division first because the weather there seems to be very dry now. After that, we will conduct similar operations in Miri Division, he said in an interview yesterday.
Dr Chan, who is also Sarawak Finance, Public Utilities and Industrial Development Minister, was asked to comment on immediate steps to be taken to douse scattered cases of peat and bush fires that had contributed to the smoky atmosphere in several places over the past few days.
He said it was vital for artificial rain to be created over this part of the state before the dry spell worsens.
However, he noted that cloud seeding might not achieve the desired result unless there is enough rain-clouds in the sky.
We are constantly trying to locate the areas where there is enough clouds for seeding purposes,'' he said.
To a question, Dr Chan said the current dry spell over northern Sarawak was not caused by the El-Nino weather phenomenon, adding that weather predictions did not indicate that El-Nino would hit this region this year.
On efforts being taken on the ground to stop open-burning, he stressed that the authorities had already imposed a total ban on all forms of burning in Miri Division.
The Fire and Rescue Department has been told to be alert at all times and to be very strict against open-burning,'' he said.