Open burning in Sumatra to blame for haze
Writer: Alvin Yap
Published: Fri, 08 Jul 2011
SHAH ALAM: The haze that Selangor and other parts of the west coast have been experiencing is due to open burning in Sumatra, Indonesia.
A low-level haze has been blanketing the skies over some parts of the west coast, notably areas in Perak, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.
“There’s open burning in Sumatera and the wind is blowing the smoke directly at parts of Selangor,” said state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong.
She released satellite pictures that showed hotspots in the eastern parts of the island, and wind direction that was causing the smoke to drift across to Peninsular Malaysia.
The state executive councillor for Environment pointed out that the region was encountering a dry spell that could last until September.
Wong warned the public to refrain from taking advantage of the dry season to carry out open-burning activities.
She pointed out that the dry weather could exacerbate even the smallest fire, turning it into a conflagration.
The Bukit Lanjan assemblyperson said the hotspots in Johan Setia were vulnerable to uncontrolled fires as the land is composed of peat soil.
Johan Setia in the Klang-Banting area has been a thorn in the side of the state government for many years due to open burning that takes place there.
The Klang Municipal Council (MPK) and the Selangor Department of Environment (DOE) have been directed to carry out around-the-clock monitoring and surveillance of the area.
“They will be our early warning system to check on open burning,” Wong explained.
She said other hotspots have been located in the Kuala Langat area, and the district council there will work closely with MPK and the DOE to enforce the open-burning ban.
Wong said 28 compound fines, amounting to RM56,000, have been issued to parties guilty of conducting open burning.
Thirteen cases have been successfully prosecuted, while another 11 are awaiting trial.
The Air Pollutant Index registered a “moderate” quality reading on Wednesday.