KLANG: A new inter-agency standard operating procedure (SOP) is being drawn up to combat open burning nationwide.
Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said her office was engaging various government agencies to create an SOP which would be first used to tackle persistent peat fires in Johan Setia, which residents claim have caused respiratory illnesses.
“We need an SOP where government agencies will coordinate among themselves to put out fires and solve the issue at the root,” she said.
Yeo, who held a dialogue with residents in Klang, said such fires should be tackled without a minister having to turun padang (going to the ground).
Yeo said the SOP would include reducing the risk of open burning on peat soil and the effective coordination of all agencies involved.
They include the Fire and Rescue Department, Klang Land Office, Department of Environment, Klang Municipal Council along with state assemblymen.
Based on feedback from residents, Yeo will also be engaging the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry and Home Ministry because the Johan Setia fires are often started by foreign workers in plantations.
As the haze in Klang reached worrying levels, Yeo on Aug 15 visited Johan Setia and coordinated firefighting operations to improve the air quality.
“As a federal minister, I am here not only to solve a local problem. We are solving a national problem where, if there is anything similar happening in other parts of the country, the same SOP can be applied,” said the Bakri MP.
The SOP is expected to be ready in a month’s time.
On the crackdown on illegal plastic waste recycling factories in Kuala Langat, Yeo said factories that imported plastic waste from January and June had existing stock that could not be processed.
As a result, she said some of these illegal factories had indiscriminately dumped the waste on empty land.
Yeo pointed out that not all recycling plants were illegal.
She said the government would only take action against those that were unlicensed or polluters.