HAZE WATCH: Malaysian firms also to blame

HAZE WATCH: Malaysian firms also to blame

11 August 2005

publishedby NewStraits Times

Some Malaysian palm oil companies with plantations in Indonesia have contributed to the haze.

However, Department of Environment director-general Datuk Rosnani Ibarahim said she did not have information on who they were.

She said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Da- tuk Seri Adenan Satem would be in a better position to provide the details.

Rosnani had accompanied Adenan to Medan to meet Indo- nesian environmental and fo- restry officials to discuss the fo- rest fires in Sumatra, blamed for the haze in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the Global Environment Centre here blamed a lack of knowledge in managing peat land for the forest fires. Its manager, Chee Tong Yiew, said since the 1997/98 haze, many international bodies had helped manage the fires in Indonesia.

Among them are the United Nations Development Programme, Canada’s Co-operation for Assistance and Relief agency, and the Netherlands.

Chee said these agencies’ efforts were insufficient, however, as the problems recurred when their representatives left the country.

“Peat land is drained for plantations, leaving dry vegetation which fuels the peat fires,” he said. “Furthermore, the traditional land clearing practice of burning makes things worse, as peat fires do not burn above ground, they smoulder underground.”

He added that 56 per cent of Riau province comprised peat soil.

Chee said the programmes conducted by the international bodies were scattered and “scratching the surface”, as they did not educate the people on the dangers.

“The local population should be educated in peat land management so the haze problem will not get out of hand,” he said.

Asean leaders will meet in Penang next week to discuss, among other issues, the transboundary haze problem.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien