Borneo Post, 7 Aug 2014
MIRI: Authorities in Brunei have contacted the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) regarding cross-boundary haze.
NREB controller Peter Sawal said the board was asked regarding action taken to control the haze here.
“Our officers in Miri are taking appropriate action to curb open burning activities including revoking previous open burning permits given earlier,” Peter told The Borneo Post when contacted in Kuching yesterday.
The cross boundary haze has affected the towns of Kuala Belait and Seria in Brunei, which are located less than half an hour’s drive from Kuala Baram.
Peter said NREB and other relevant parties have taken drastic actions to curb open burning and control peat soil fires in Kuala Baram by submerging the area with water through tube wells.
He pointed out that the Department of Environment (DOE) had issued investigation papers to land owners and developers, while NREB officers here had issued two compounds to local farmers for conducting roadside burning.
Miri Resident Antonio Kathi Galis, who is Miri Disaster Relief Committee chairman, said Fire and Rescue Department personnel were working to control peat soil burning behind the Miri Industrial Training Institute (ILP Miri) and the National Youth Skills Institute (IKBN) Miri to prevent them from spreading to larger areas.
He said excavators were being used to create temporary access roads for fire engines to reach the burning peat soil in both areas.
“Our committee’s next step is to look further into the smoky conditions enveloping some areas in Miri and to a certain extent further concrete action will be pursued to overcome the problem,” he said.
“Don’t do any open burning now as the hot and dry weather conditions can easily spark fires to break out and be very hard to control, especially at idle peat soil along the Kuala Baram area.”