IPOH: The Perak Environment Department has beefed up enforcement activities to deter open burning, says state environment committee chairman Teh Kok Lim.
He said that Department personnel will patrol hot spots that have a high possibility of open burning activities, adding that people should also not allow their premises or land to be used for such acts.
"All landowners are advised to closely monitor areas that can catch fire like forests, peat soil, farms, estates and industrial areas. They need to take anti-encroachment measures to prevent unscrupulous people from conducting open burning, whether deliberately or accidentally," he said in a statement on Monday (Oct 2).
"Under Section 29(A) of the Environmental Quality Act, those who were found to commit open burning can be fined up to RM500,000 or to be jailed up to five years or both," he added, saying that a maximum compound of RM2,000 can also be issued for each offence.
Teh then said that all local governments are to also ensure the waste disposal sites under their jurisdiction do not have open burning incidents, while earthworks must be controlled to lessen dust emission that will cause the air quality to deteriorate.
"The people are urged to cooperate by putting out small fires and to report open burning cases or fires to the Fire and Rescue Department at 999 or the Environment Department's toll-free line at 1-800-88-2727," he added.
Teh said the Department has conducted a check of Perak and found no areas that are contributing to air pollution.
"Based on the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) in Singapore, satellite images found 121 hotspots in Sumatera, 122 in Kalimantan and none in Malaysia," he said.
He also said that only the air quality in Taiping had been categorised as unhealthy with an air pollution index (API) reading of 151, at noon.
"Other areas like Ipoh, Tanjung Malim and Seri Manjung were at a moderate level, with API readings of between 84 and 96.
"The API readings can be referred to at http://apims.doe.gov.my/ or via the MyIPU mobile app," he said. People are also advised to check the Health Ministry website for advice to prevent respiratory diseases," he added.