MIRI: The Sarawak Natural Resources and Environmental Board (NREB) will table a proposal to the state Cabinet to tighten environmental provisions to give greater protection to areas deemed highly sensitive to economic development and human interference.
The proposal, among others, will give the board wider control over development in areas such as the more than 1,000km-long mangrove coastal belt stretching from Kuching to Limbang, and also other highly sensitive projects that can disrupt the ecosystem, such as township construction.
NREB enforcement chief Dania Goyog yesterday said the board wanted to have more say on the environmental impact assessments (EIA) of more development projects.
We have proposed that the EIA requirements for projects in the state be made more compact and comprehensive. For example, at present, the board only has the authority to impose the EIA requirements on development projects in mangrove swamps if the area involved is more than 50ha in size.
The board wants to impose EIA control on all project in mangrove swamps that measures more than 5ha.
We feel that development in such areas must be given stricter scrutiny, since the ecosystem there is very sensitive to human interference. We have explained this to the state government in the proposal, he said.
Goyog said another area of human development sought by the board was over new township construction.
Under the present system, developers of new townships do not need to submit EIA reports to the NREB when they construct such projects.
The board wanted such township projects to be placed under its scrutiny and for the EIA report to be made compulsory, said Goyog.