Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Open burning and the haze





It has been extremely hot and dry the past one week all over Sarawak. We could even feel the heat from early morning until midnight.The piped water at home is so warm that when you shower at 7 pm, you will still complain it is too hot. June, July and August were traditionally the hottest months in Borneo. But the weather here is now very unpredictable. Less than three weeks ago we had some heavy rainfall and parts of the lower Rajang were even flooded. Today the haze appears out of no where. The scorching sun is most of the time out of view this afternoon, a big contrast to yesterday's blue and clear sky. Apparently open burning in the rural areas is active again lately as farmers prepare the land for the next padi planting season.Torching the dry land is the easiest and most economical way to clear the land for planting, but it is doing grievous harm to the already very polluted environment.With the sharp increase in prices for fuel and all kinds of food, the rural population is expected to plant more padi this year. That also means more open burning is expected in the next 2 months and the air pollution is also expected to get worst. It is an offence to do open burning, but with the vast landmass in Sarawak, I doubt the enforcement officers are efficient enough to implement the law. Apart from these smaller fires created by the rural farmers, some unethical and selfish plantation owners will also burn large area of land to plant new crops. They would simply report to the authority the fire went out of control and the burning was caused by wild fires. It has been an annual calamity for Sarawak and parts of Semunanjung Malaysia to be affected by serious haze in the past decade. The haze problem is mostly created by unchecked human activities while some are indeed caused by nature. The above photos were taken while travelling along the Pan Borneo Highway recently.

5 comments:

cc said...

They should enforce a rule to band those who burn things like this. Maybe a heavy fine.

suituapui said...

In the past, I would grumble and complain as to why they would want to plant their own rice. But this time around, with the escalating prices of rice and everything else, I would just keep silent!...It will pass sooner or later!...Just take good care of ourselves. Stay indoors more, drink lots and lots of water.

rubberseeds said...

cc: I think there are existing laws for the offenders.Either the laws are inadequate or there has been a lack of determination to enforce them.

stp:I think we are too lucky, no need to plant padi and vegetables...we just buy the ready ones. Life in the rural areas is very different,especially those in the remote interior. Without sufficient income, they have to plant some padi to survive.

-eiling- said...

Can't really blame the farmers. They have no choice but to choose the cheapest way to clear the land partly due to ineffective enforcement officers and also lack of education on the preserving the environment. No wonder the haze is back here too....

rubberseeds said...

eiling: Agree with you. Today's haze is very bad here.