PUTRAJAYA: The natural resources, environment and climate change ministry has written to Malaysian plantation companies, subsidiaries, and Malaysian-linked companies operating in Indonesia about putting a stop to open burning.
It’s minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said the letter reminds the companies to take measures to prevent plantation and peat fires, which are the main cause of transboundary haze pollution across the region.
In a statement, he said efforts will also continue with the foreign affairs ministry through the representative offices in Indonesia.
According to Nik Nazmi, the government activated the national open burning action plan on April 2.
He said monitoring of high-risk areas and air quality had been stepped up as well.
“The public is also advised not to burn waste or allow their land or premises to be used by irresponsible parties, as this could result in open burning,” he added.
Nik Nazmi said, according to stats from the environment department, 57 compounds were issued between Jan 1 and Aug 28, with two cases subject to court action under Section 29A of the Environmental Quality Act of 1974.
He said the measures are necessary due to the southwest monsoon dry season, from May to September this year.
Nik Nazmi said the meteorological department (MetMalaysia) has made improvements to the fire danger rating system (FDRS), used by Asean countries since 2003, by adding a new element: a seven-day forecast to monitor the potential occurrence of fire and its intensity.
According to the MetMalaysia website, FDRS monitors the risk of forest or vegetation fires and provides information that assists in fire management.