Sarawak unlikely to be affected by haze this year: NREB

KUCHING: Sarawak is unlikely to be badly affected by the haze caused by soil and forest fires in Kalimantan, Indonesia this year, said Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) Sarawak Controller Peter Sawal.

He said even though the state was not expected to be affected by transboundary haze, NREB would still take precautionary measures to control the haze caused by local activities.

"Our surveillance (of the situation) revealed that the winds previously blow directly towards Sarawak but the movement has changed and no longer heading directly towards Sarawak.

"In addition, the weather in Kalimantan is most similarly like ours, it is not that dry and in terms of hotspots from open burning in Kalimantan, less have been detected compared to a few years ago," he told a media conference on NREB's preparation to face the haze here today.

He said NREB has three air quality monitoring stations in Lawas, Lubok Antu and Tebedu with another station to be opened in Lundu this year while the Sarawak Department of Environment has 12 monitoring stations nationwide.

Peter said up till June this year, NREB had issued 38 permits for open burning statewide.

"For every permit issued, open burning activities are allowed within a period of four days only, If such activities are not completed within that time, they will need to reapply for a permit," he said.

He said three hot spots were detected, two in Miri and one in Bintulu up till yesterday. — Bernama