DOE ready to deal with open burning issues

PUTRAJAYA: Several measures to address open burning, which deteriorates air quality, have been prepared by the Department of Environment (DOE).

“During this dry weather, there are concerns that there will be an increase in the incidence of open burning, especially involving peatland areas and waste disposal sites,” according to the department in a statement here yesterday.

The department stated there was no denying emissions from industrial activities and motor vehicles also contributed to air quality deterioration, especially in the Klang Valley and industrial areas, but from DOE analysis and records, the open burning of biomass is the main cause of local haze.

According to Bernama, the DOE also said that a number of measures are being taken to deal with possible fire incidents, including increasing monitoring and patrolling operations by land and using drones to prevent open burning activities.

The DOE said stern action will be taken in places where fires occur, and it will identify the landowners of the areas involved so that legal action can be taken under the Environmental Quality Act 1974.

There is also cooperation with the Fire and Rescue Department to implement measures to control fires that occur, in addition to constantly monitoring the readings and trends of the Air Pollutant Index (API) from time to time for further action.

According to the DOE, public awareness campaigns will be actively held via community programmes as well as social media and the media, especially for farmers and villagers to not carry out burning activities during hot and dry weather.

In order to deal with the hot and dry weather, every agency involved in haze disaster management has also increased prevention efforts for open burning activities that have the potential to cause haze at the local level.

Additionally, state and local governments, as well as all landowners, are advised to closely monitor areas that easily and frequently burn, such as landfill sites, forests, peatlands, fields, and agricultural and industrial areas, and to take measures to prevent encroachment by irresponsible parties causing open burning.

Meanwhile, the DOE said Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad visited the Johan Setia “Green Revolution Area” in Klang, Selangor, yesterday to see monitoring methods and actions taken in dealing with and preventing fires in fire-prone areas carried out under the Peatland Fire Prevention programme.

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