Haze Caused by Hot Weather, Peat Fires, Says Nik Nazmi

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KOTA BARU: The haze that is currently affecting the country is caused by peat fires and open burning, says Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.

Peninsular Malaysia is currently experiencing hot weather, which, along with the resumption of economic activities post Covid-19, contributed to the haze.

“Hot weather has caused fires to occur in forested areas and properties.

“The haze is not happening only in Malaysia but in countries in the Asean region,” he said at a media conference after presenting aid to 50 asnaf (Islamic tithe recipients) in Kampung Parit Pasir Tumboh here today (April 15).

He added various government agencies were busy fighting peat fires in Kampung Beoh, Beris Lalang subdistrict in Bachok since March 27.

The fire initially affected a five-hectare area but has spread to around 20 to 50 hectares, Nik Nazmi said, adding that the fires have not been put out completely.

“The fires have started spreading to nearby villages, including Kampung Kual, Kampung Kual Kecil and Kampung Gondang.

“The Kelantan Environment Department has issued a notice to all landowners to be responsible and take measures to ensure there are no trespassing or fires,” he said.

The Kelantan Environment Department has also mobilised open fire prevention operation teams that are conducting daily checks at all vulnerable peat areas during the dry season.

“The Malaysian Minerals and Geoscience Department has conducted a well-pumping operation in the area since March 29 till now to channel water to nearby canals and irrigation waterways to dampen the soil to prevent fires from spreading further.

“The Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) has also cleared blocked waterways to ensure continuous water flow and to increase their water levels.

“Firefighting operations involving firefighters are being conducted, and they have been monitoring the situation and putting out fires since they began,” he added. – Bernama

Source: The Star