Asean Countries Brace For Haze
MIRI – Asean countries are to seek an urgent regional solution to the transboundary haze this year in view of the anticipated dry season that will last up to three months starting July.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said he had meet his counterparts from Singapore and Brunei while attending the Rio Earth Summit in Brazil this month to discuss the possibility of holding the regional meeting on the haze problem before September as originally scheduled.
“Three of us agreed to meet earlier than the scheduled meeting in September,” he told reporters after chairing a meeting on the haze situation in Miri on Saturday.
Asean’s 14th Meeting of the Technical Working Group on Transboundary Haze Pollution and the 14th Meeting of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution are scheduled for September in Bali, Indonesia.
“We would like to bring it forward a lot earlier, so that we can review each other’s strategies. The problem will get worsa because the weather will be drier in August and September,” he said.
As for the haze in Miri, he said the relevant government departments and agencies had been directed to review their standard operating procedure (SOP) to ensure that quick action could be taken on open burning, especially if it involved peat soil.
“There are some weaknesses and that’s why there is a need to review the current SOP,” he said, dismissing speculation that the current haze was due to inaction by the Fire & Rescue Department here.
He said a volunteer fire-fighting unit, comprising the People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) and Civil Defence Department (JPAM) personnel, would be formed in Miri to assist the Fire & Rescue Department in fighting peat fires. – BERNAMA