MIRI: With northern Sarawak facing a dry spell, the risk of peat fires occurring has risen, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam.
He said there was a danger that the level of underground water may fall due to the dry weather and any occurrence of peat fires would become a major headache.
Northern Sarawak is getting very dry now, unlike in the south where it is raining almost every day.
We are starting to see signs of haze in the north because of wildfires caused by open burning. The air pollution is from local sources.
I have directed the relevant government agencies as well as private land developers to help the state government stop the fires, he said.
Dr Chan, who is state Minister for Industrial Development and Agriculture Modernisation, said action must be implemented now to improve the air quality.
He stressed that he would carry out his own surveillance to ensure that anti-open burning operations were carried out diligently.
I want the Natural Resources and Environment Board, Department of Environment and all departments to co-operate on this.
I will go round and see for myself whether things (enforcement operations) are being done. We are talking a lot about making Miri a clean and healthy city, but first we must have good air quality.
We are hoping to achieve city status for Miri next month. It will be very embarrassing if people come and see us shrouded in haze, Dr Chan said.
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