Burning on native land causing air quality concerns

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 15 Jun 2003

MIRI: Shifting cultivators have started open burning on native customary land in Sarawak for the new harvest season, triggering concerns over air quality. 

Sahabat Alam Malaysia field officer for Sarawak Jok Jau Evong said some Penan settlers in the state's interior had started burning farm wastes. 

Based on humanitarian grounds, open burning on native customary land in the state is not governed by regulations from the Department of Environment or the Sarawak Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB). 

The two government agencies only have laws to control the burning of solid and farm wastes by commercial farms and agricultural plantations. 

“A few days ago, Marudi town (200km from here) experienced a hazy condition for a short period and it cleared up after a rainfall,” Jok told The Star yesterday. 

“We are monitoring the situation and natives from the interior will inform us about open burnings when they come down to Marudi for their food supplies.” 

NREB assistant controller Dania Goyog said the board had detected scattered open burnings on customary native land. 

“No burnings had been detected on big plantations or commercial farms, so the overall situation is still good as far as the air quality in the state is concerned,” he said. 

Goyog said there was no danger of the open burning turning into a major environmental problem because most divisions in Sarawak were experiencing occasional rain.  

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