PENANG — Asean will extend its community training and education programme on fire fighting to all member countries as one measure to tackle the annual haze that chokes the region.
Pilot education projects carried out in Indonesia’s Sumatra have shown positive results in controlling forest and peatland fires at their source, Asean Secretariat environment unit head L. Raman said.
Priority would be given to remote areas, which were not easily accessible to heavy machinery and other equipment used for fire fighting, he told reporters after the 16th meeting of the Asean Senior Officials on the Environment (ASOEN) which ended, here Thursday.
The three-day meeting was attended by 50 officials from the 10 Asean member countries and topping their agenda was the current forest fire and haze situation.
Raman said the training programme would enable the local communities to react spontaneously to put out any fire detected in their area without waiting for help from the authorities.
Besides training, the community would also be provided with suitable fire fighting equipment, he added.
ASOEN also agreed that canals should be built in peatland to raise the water table level so that any underground fire could be easily put out as well as to enable water to be supplied to the affected areas effectively.
Raman said the Asean Secretariat would also compile situation reports from member countries on burning activities before issuing a weather forecast so that each country could take preventive measures on the situation.
Friday, ASOEN officials will meet their counterparts from Japan, China and Korea under the Asean+3 dialogue arrangement.