Public urged to refrain from open burning as API readings in Sarawak show increase

Khirudin (seated eighth right) with officers and auxiliary firefighters.

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SIBU, Sept 4: Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) director Datuk Khirudin Drahman issued a clarion call to the public to not carry out open burning.

The call comes as Sri Aman recorded an Air Pollutant Index (API) reading of 154, which was the highest in the country as at 9am today.

“I understand that NREB (Natural Resource and Environmental Board) has stopped issuing permits for open burning and we can discuss with our neighbouring country (to do the same) and we can’t deny that Sarawak also has hotspots as there were reported incidents of hotspots in the State this morning,” he said after officiating at the closing of an auxiliary firefighters certification course here today.

He added that he had instructed fire chiefs from the different zones in the State to go to the ground and monitor the situation.

“Yesterday we received eight calls (on open burning) in Simunjan and I want fire chiefs from the various zones to monitor the situation,” he added.

Khirudin also hoped that neighbouring countries would cooperate in stopping open burning in plantations.

He pointed out that there is also an elevated risk of transboundary haze between West Kalimantan and western Sarawak.

“I think the State government and Malaysia may have discussions with our neighboring country (Indonesia) so that they can regulate and oversee (open burning conditions), especially during this dry season,” he said.

A total of 19 auxiliary firefighters were commissioned at the ceremony.

Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) satellite imagery showed moderate to dense smoke haze over southern and southeastern Kalimantan, drifting towards the northwest. — DayakDaily