Friday June 5, 2009
Sarawak minister fumes over open burning
MIRI: Open burning nightly, which not only causes serious air pollution in northern Sarawak but also poses a health threat, has state Assistant Minister for Infrastructure Develop-ment and Communications Lee Kim Shin fuming.
Lee, who is state assemblyman for Senadin, the state constituency worst affected by the smog and ash, said he had received a lot of complaints over the past two weeks, especially from those suffering from asthma.
He is angry not only with the open-burning culprits, but also with the state Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) for not being strict enough on enforcement.
This is a highly-populated area, and this open burning has not only caused inconvenience but also affected the health of the people, said Lee.
The NREB had already warned the culprits. It is time for action. The NREB must fine or compound those responsible.
It is quite simple. Go and take note of those doing illegal planting. Enforcement must be there apart from education.
Pollution from open burning is a nightly scourge for some 100,000 people living in the Kuala Baram district next to the Sarawak-Brunei border, 35km north of here.