Friday, August 12, 2005

Haze-prone Sarawak in enviable position now


MIRI: Sarawak is in an unusual but enviable position these hazy days.

The state is usually the worst affected by the haze but not this time.

All 11 divisions registered an Air Pollutant Index of below 100 yesterday.

“We are spared from the severe effects of the haze. Favourable wind directions prevented the haze from enveloping the state,” Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam told The Star yesterday.

Sarawak experienced the worst haze in 1998 when the Federal Government declared a state of environmental emergency for 10 days after the API level recorded a reading of over 900. Three months ago, Miri was badly hit by haze, which lasted about a month.

Sarawakians know exactly what those in some parts of the peninsula are going through now.

Dr Chan, who is also the state Disaster Relief Committee chairman, said 13 minor “hotspots” were detected in Sarawak but none caused severe damage to the air quality.

Nevertheless, the state is not taking any chances.

“The state Cabinet has issued a total ban on all forms of open burning throughout the state,” Dr Chan said.

He said Sarawak was watching with concern the severity of the haze that has enveloped parts of the peninsula.

“What we can do here is to ensure the locals do not make it worse by starting fires,” he added.

Courtesy of The Star

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