Wan Junaidi allays fears of severe haze this year

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KUCHING: Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar today allayed fears of a severe transboundary haze occurring this year.

He said Indonesia, where the haze originated as a result of land-clearing fires, seemed to be doing its part to honour its commitment to check the annual phenomenon.

So far, there were only a few hotspots in Sumatera and two in Kalimantan, he told reporters at his Aidilfitri open house here.

Wan Junaidi said Indonesian law allowed its 40 per cent of smallholders cultivating oil palm and trees for pulp and paper to conduct open burning on their farmlands of about two hectares each.

However, he believed that the haze would not be so serious this year as Indonesia faced a lot of pressure from Malaysia and Singapore which suffered the most from the phenomenon.

“Whatever it is, Indonesia is still going to be answerable to its neighbours based on the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution 2002,” he said.

Wan Junaidi also said that global warming was making weather conditions unpredictable.

“It is common, during the current hot season now, when there is rain, there are always thunderstorms with very strong winds. We are going to see a lot more of these,” he said.

He advised all local councils and state governments to take the necessary precautions for the low-lying areas and ensure proper drainage to prevent flash floods from happening repeatedly.

BERNAMA