NST, 4 March 2014
PUTRAJAYA: The haze in Malaysia is triggered by domestic smoke emissions, said the National Security Council today.
In a statement posted on its website, the council said the smoke was caused by open burning, forest fires, vehicle smoke emission and from factories.
“It is not caused by trans-boundary haze as the Northeast Monsoon is still active where the wind flow patterns from the northeast will not allow smoke (in nearby neighbouring countries) to reach the Peninsular Malaysia,” it said.
In this respect, the council would take the necessary steps to address the issue, making sure the haze issue would not worsen.
It would even coordinate with relevant authorities including the Department of Environment (DOE) and the Malaysian Meterological Department.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said in statement that the haze experienced in the country was mostly due to forest or peat fires at several states including Selangor, Perak, pahang. Johor, Kedah, kelantan and Terengganu.
He also urged the people to work with the authorities by putting out small fires and report to the Fire and Rescue Department of any open burning cases.
“All parties are advised not to carry out open burning or allow anyone to use their land to carry out any open burning for whatever reasons,” he added.
Palanivel also advised the people to stay indoor, especially those with health risks, should the Air Pollutant Index breached the 200 level.
The DOE, he said, had put in place several measures to address the haze issue including:
*Constant monitoring to detect changes of air quality through 52 monitoring stations nationwide;
*Activating the open burning ban and the standard operating procedure to tackle peat fires starting Feb 4 as well as tighten enforcement on smoke emission from vehicles and factories;
* Taking legal action against those carry out open burning at construction sites, industrial areas and plantations, whereas for small cases of open burning will be fined;
* Issuing orders to all local councils to monitor the burning at landfills under their jurisdiction to ensure control burning;
* Enhancing communication system at DOE operation rooms;
* Conducting air and land patrol to monitor for any fire outbreaks in the interior land as well as forests in several states such in Perak, Pahang as well asTerengganu, and
“Close monitoring at states that implement preventive measures to tackle peat fires and daily checks are being conducted at sites and the Mineral and Geo-science Department has been instructed to pump water into the peat soil if the water level drops.