Mystery night haze in Kuala Baram, Sabah

Mystery night haze in Kuala Baram, Sabah

29 May 2009

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Malaysia — For the last two nights and early mornings, people in Kuala Baram district along the Sarawak-Brunei border have had to endure poor air quality caused by heavy smog and ash.

But the source of the smog remains a baffling mystery as all the local wildfires had been put out, said Miri Fire and Rescue Department chief Sherumie Ali.

On Friday morning, officials from the department and the Miri Resident’s Office carried out ground surveillance along the 20km-stretch from the outskirts of Miri city to the end of the Kuala Baram district near the transboundary bridge.

All they found were kilometres of charred remains of burnt forests and vacant land that were ravaged by wildfires recently, but there were no indication of any major new fire.

”We do not know where the smog is coming from. We are still trying to locate the source,” he said, adding that there was a minor fire some 7km inland from the Kuala Baram-Miri Airport by-pass but it was not serious.

The Department of Environment in the meantime, said they were also confused as to where the smog and ashes had come from during the night and early morning hours.

”The heavy pollutants during the night and early morning hours may have been blown here from somewhere nearby,” a spokesman said.

On the other side of the border, firemen in Brunei are battling some fires in about 10 hectares of land in Kuala Belait, a short distance from the entry point into Sarawak.

According to reports from the Borneo Bulletin, these forests fires had ravaged plots of land in Sungai Liang (60kms from here), Labi, Kuala Belait and Seria highways (about 40kms from here).

However, a check at the border Friday morning showed that there was no wind to bring the haze from Brunei into Miri.

While the mystery continues, Baram folk have no choice but to breath smoggy air at night.

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