NREB is not taking illegal open burning activities lightly – Peter Sawal

Peter Sawal

KUCHING: Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) are closely monitoring the weather pattern in Sarawak before deciding whether to continue issuing or revoke the opening burning permit.

Controller of Environmental Quality Sarawak, Peter Sawal stressed that NREB is following its Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

“If the Air Pollutant Index exceeds 100 (unhealthy) and continuously no rain for a few days, we will not issue new open burning permit (OBP). If dry situation continues, we will revoke previously issued OBP,” he told Borneo Post.

Peter said that NREB is not taking illegal open burning activities lightly.

“All open burning cases will be investigated by our regional offices in Kuching, Betong, Sibu, Mukah, Bintulu, Miri and Limbang,” he said.

He said the department will also monitor the situation using the ‘eyes’ from the sky.

“(In some cases, there are) areas where we detected hotspots from Satellite NOOA18,” he said.

Peter said all open burning detected by the satellite comes with Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates.

“We will overlay (the co-ordinates) with digitised development areas and our records of any OBP issued by NREB HQ,” he explained.

Peter stressed that so far, they have not received any directive yet as NREB are still monitoring the situation daily.

“Thanks for the info. Our Betong office will go to the ground (If they have not done so),” he said, when informed a big fire was reportedly happening in Kampung Sebemban, Betong.

Meanwhile, Saribas Assemblyman Mohd Radzi Sitam confirmed that a big fire happened last night not far from two existing oil palm plantations owned by a private company and government link company, not very far from Kampung Sebemban.

“Info from the village channelled to me (is that) the company is burning it to open up new plantation. It is done by a company which we don’t know the name. It is not far from the village of Kampung Sebemban,” he said.