Haze could hit Sarawak sooner if weather conditions persist — NREB

Justin Jok Jau Emang

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Aug 12: If the current hot weather persists until October coupled with the current south-westerly wind blowing from neighbouring countries, Sarawak will experience serious hazy weather conditions sooner than expected, asserts Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) controller Justin Jok Jau Emang.

He added that shifting cultivators in Sarawak are also contributing to the hazy condition which has start affecting air quality in Sarawak.

“Contributing factors such as continuous hot weather, current wind direction and human activities such as shifting cultivation in Sarawak, coupled with haze being blown from the neighbouring country could cause serious haze conditions in Sarawak,” Justin told DayakDaily when contacted today.

“As far as Sarawak is concerned, we have banned large-scale burning for commercial purposes during this time of the year. However, we still allow our traditional farmers to carry out open burning to clear their land for padi cultivation,” he said.

Justin explained the hotspots in Sarawak over the past week are caused by shifting cultivators and some bush fires due to dry weather conditions especially those in Miri.

But what worries him most is the transboundary haze which Sarawak would not be able to control.

“Insofar as transboundary haze is concerned, there is nothing we can do,” he stressed.

As of yesterday, there were six hotspots detected in Sarawak and 64 hotspots detected in Kalimantan.

Presently, air quality in Sarawak is moderate except in Kapit where it is still categorised as healthy.

An Air Pollutant Index (API) reading below 50 categorised as healthy; 51-100 is considered moderate; 101-200 (unhealthy); 201-300 (very unhealthy) and above 300 (hazardous). — DayakDaily