KUALA LUMPUR: The authorities will step up enforcement against open burning as the hot months of April to September start to set in.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said the National Haze Committee and Department of Environment had been tasked with controlling open burning.
"The strategy now, as we move towards a dry weather, (is) more enforcement to ensure there will be less pollution, and impose regulation to ensure there will be no open burning," he told reporters.
Until last March 19, 320 cases of open burning was recorded nationwide, with 56 cases issued with compound fines and 23 given notices under the Environmental Quality Act 1974.
He said to control open burning, the government would also focus on peat areas in Selangor, Pahang, Miri (Sarawak) and Johor, as peat soil could easily combust when the water level in the area dropped.
He said so far the ministry managed to ensure the water level was sufficient, and at the same time build a number of tube wells either for fire-fighting purpose or for raising the water level at the peat area.
He said the Asean ministerial steering committee on trans-boundary haze would meet in Brunei in May.
The group will also discuss coordination and collaboration in various programmes and exchange fire-fighting experiences. BERNAMA