“(The issue) will be forgotten once it rains and the haze disappears,” lamented Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s Prof Dr Maketab Mohamed.
The Malaysian and Indonesian governments need to have a long-term solution to deal with the problem, he stressed.
“We also signed the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution many years ago – whatever happened to that?” he said.
Green Earth Society president P. Sivakumar said the blame game between Malaysia and Indonesia should also be stopped.
The two countries should focus on the root cause of the problem, which is the burning of peat soil during the dry and hot season.
“The haze is seriously affecting our nation’s health, schools, tourism, and economy.
“It is a transborder problem that needs Malaysia to work harder, with (the requisite) political will and technical capacity to do more to tackle the menace,” he said.
Sivakumar also urged the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia to introduce stiffer penalties for those who continue to pollute the environment.
Malaysian Nature Society president Prof Dr Ahmad Ismail said that this was not a new issue and had been discussed in depth at all
“The question now is how far have the decisions that were made before gone towards solving the problem,” he said, adding that there should be both short and long-term solutions to tackle the issue.
He suggested that the relevant government department hold meetings to assess the current situation and come up with responses.
Open burning should be stopped as it puts more burden on air quality, he added.
Meanwhile, a Department of Environment spokesman said, “Our main priority should be to totally stop open burning.”
The spokesman added that Malaysia was doing its best to stop open burning here, with various agencies and ministries involved.