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NREB closely monitoring weather pattern’

KUCHING: Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) is closely monitoring the weather pattern in Sarawak before deciding whether to continue issuing or revoke open burning permit.

Controller of Environmental Quality Sarawak, Peter Sawal, said NREB has guidelines and standard operating procedure (SOP) to follow.

If the Air Pollutant Index exceeds 100 (unhealthy) and there is continuously no rain for a few days, we will not issue new open burning permit (OBP). If dry situation continues, we will revoke previously issued OBP, he told The Borneo Post.

Peter assured that NREB is not taking illegal open burning lightly. All open burning cases will be investigated by our regional offices in Kuching, Betong, Sibu, Mukah, Bintulu, Miri and Limbang, he said. He informed that they will also monitor the situation using ‘the eyes’ from the sky.

(In some cases, there are) areas where we detected hotspots from Satellite NOOA18, he said.

Peter said all open burnings detected by the satellite come with Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates.

We will overlay (the coordinates) with digitised development areas and our records of any OBP issued by NREB HQ, he explained.

Peter also informed that so far they had not received any directive to revoke open burning permits as NREB was monitoring the situation daily.

Thanks for the info. Our Betong office will go to the ground (If they have not done so), he said, when told that a big fire was reportedly happening in Kampung Sebemban, Betong.

Meanwhile, Saribas assemblyman Mohd Radzi Sitam confirmed that a big fire occurred Tuesday night not far from two oil palm plantations owned by a private company and government-linked company, not very far from Kampung Sebemban.

Info from the village channelled to me (is that) the company is burning it to open up new plantation.

It is done by a company which we don’t know the name. It is not far from the village of Kampung Sebemban, he said.

Source: SARAWAK GOVERNMENT

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