Malaysia –-MIRI: The air pollutant index (API) here is expected to drop to the moderate level by mid-week as several private firms, Mineral and Geoscience Department and the Department of Environment (DOE) work round-the-clock to build firebreaks and tube wells in three areas.
Under the supervision of the Disaster Management Committee (Miri), which is headed by Miri Resident Antonio Kahti Galis, Petronas, Shell, Samling Group, Dieken Miri and the DOE have come up with six excavators to create fire-breaks in Permyjaya, Tudan and Kuala Baram
The excavator from the DOE is funded under the Management of peat soil that is frequently burnt programme, said DOE Miri chief S Sivanathiran yesterday.
He told reporters during a site inspection at the Watch Tower in Permyjaya that their target was to complete all the fire-breaks by today.
Dont worry, be calm, as by the next few days, starting from today (yesterday), we would have completed the project (creating fire-breaks).
We will try to complete the work in two days time, otherwise we will continue till done.
He opined that once the all the fire-breaks and tube wells were in place, the API reading should dropped to around the 60 and 70 level.
Then I can take my leave to KL. Otherwise, I will have to postpone my trip, he quipped.
Sivanathiran said the whole idea was to excavate the earth to break the fires and then pump water from the tube wells into the drains. The drain in Permyjaya is about two kilometres into the peat soil area surrounding Hamidah Complex, SJK Chung Hua Tudan and the nearby housing estate.
The overall excavation work is RM20,000.
Meanwhile, a spokesman from the Mineral and Geoscience Department said they had constructed seven tube wells thus far.
Five are along Kuala Baram Road to the Asean Bridge, one next to Hamidah Complex and the other near the Watch Tower and near the housing estate.
He added that his department had proposed to build another two tube wells in Permyjaya.
To help keep the API down, bodies such as the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba), Miri City Council, and Peoples Vigilante Corps (Rela) have also lended a helping hand.
IN PROGRESS: Excavation work on creating a fire-break in progress.