KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 5): The National Open Burning Action Plan and the National Haze Action Plan were activated after several areas recorded unhealthy air pollution index (API) readings.
Department of Environment (DOE) director-general Datuk Wan Abdul Latiff Wan Jaafar in a statement said the action plans were activated to coordinate the actions of government agencies in dealing with the issue of open burning and the haze that are affecting the country.
He said three air quality monitoring stations recorded API readings of unhealthy levels today, namely in Shah Alam, Selangor where the API was 149, Kuching (API 152) and Serian (API 152) in Sarawak.
“Wind movements from the south-east has brought haze from the west Kalimantan area to southern Sarawak causing an increase in API readings in those areas.
“However, the increase in API readings in Shah Alam was due to the open burning activities in areas close to the monitoring stations,” he said.
In addition, Wan Abdul Latiff said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 20 satellite images detected 64 hot spots in Sumatra, Indonesia, 55 in Kalimantan, Indonesia and eight within the country, four each in Sarawak and Sabah.
According to him, DOE had beefed up enforcement and daily patrol activities in areas with potential of open burning activities as well as monitoring API readings from time to time.
He urged landowners to closely monitor areas that could easily and frequently burn such as landfills, forests, peatlands, farms and agricultural and industrial areas.
The public is also reminded not to conduct open burning or allow their land and premises to be encroached by irresponsible parties who resort to open burning.
Section 29(A) of the Environmental Quality Act 1974 states that those convicted of open burning may be fined a maximum of RM500,000 or imprisoned for a term not exceeding five years or both, and a maximum compound of RM2,000 can be imposed for each offence. — Bernama