A MONTHLY SUPPLEMENT OF RAKAN SARAWAK BULLETIN

(People, events, activities and programmes which make for a total quality-managed Sarawak Civil Service)

  ISSN 1394-5726
 
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NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT BOARD (NREB) SARAWAK

(Lembaga Sumber Asli dan Persekitaran Sarawak)

The Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) Sarawak was established on 1 February 1994 pursuant to section 3 (1) of the Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance.

The Board has wide powers with regard to environmental protection and management and the sustainable use of natural resources in the State. The protection and enhancement of Sarawak’s spectacular and diverse natural environment are key roles of the Board.

The Board is also empowered to administer the provisions of the Public Parks and Greens Ordinance and the development and management of water catchment areas for public water supply, pursuant to sections 4, 8 and 10 of the Water Ordinance 1994.

Structure

The NREB is headed by the Controller of Environmental Quality, who together with other staff, are employed under section 3 (9) of the Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance.

The current position of the Acting Controller is held by Mr. Chong Ted Tsiung. Assisting him in the execution of the functions and powers of the Board are technical personnel who have qualifications and expertise in ecology, forestry, agriculture, engineering (agriculture, chemical and civil), zoology, chemistry, environmental science and other environmental related disciplines.

Functions and Powers of NREB

The functions and powers of the Board, as provided under Section 5 of the Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance, are broadly summarised thus - to formulate or develop policies and guidelines to ensure that the exploitation, conservation and management of natural resources in the State will not cause any adverse impact on the environment; to determine the mode and manner whereby natural resources can be exploited or used without damaging, polluting or causing adverse impact on the environment; to stop, control or prohibit the destruction of vegetation for the prevention of erosion, damage or injury to the natural resources, rivers and landscapes or the protection of the inland waters of the State; to provide information and education to the public regarding the protection and enhancement of the environment, and to take or undertake such measures or steps as may be necessary to safeguard the quality of the environment.

Open Burning

With the recent occurrences of haze in Sarawak, the Government has made amendments to the Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance for effective control of open burning.

Under section 30 (1) (a) any person who carries out or causes or permits to be carried out open burning of refuse or other combustible materials on any land without written permission of the Controller shall be guilty of an offence: Penalty, a fine of twenty thousand ringgit and imprisonment for three years.

Under section 30 (2) any person who, without the written permission of the Controller, cuts, destroys and burns vegetation in any area which is not Native Customary Land, shall be guilty of an offence: Penalty, a fine of thirty thousand ringgit and imprisonment for three years.

Centre for Remote Environmental Monitoring (CREM)

Acting Conroller... Mr Chong Ted Tsiung. The NREB has wide powers of protecting and enhancing Sarawak's spectacular and diverse natural resources.

Following the serious haze episodes occurring in Sarawak in mid 1997 and early 1998, the NREB has developed haze prediction system to enable the State Government to give early warning to the inhabitants of Sarawak.

This early warning system is vital for appropriate actions to be taken by both the Government and general public to reduce the impact of haze on health.

The prediction system consists of remote monitoring of hot spots via satellite and remote monitoring of ambient air pollutant index (API) in various areas of Sarawak. The system is located in the NREB office at Menara Pelita.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Section 11 A (1) of the Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance stipulates the statutory requirement for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for development activities having impacts on the environment.

Hence, the Natural Resources and Environment (Prescribed Activities) Order was enacted in 1994 to cause mandatory requirement for EIA for development activities categorized as follows:

• Agricultural development

• Forest harvesting

• Development of commercial, industrial and housing estates

• Activities which may pollute inland water or affect sources of water supply

• Fisheries and activities which may endanger marine or aquatic life, plants in inland waters or erosion of riverbanks

• Any other activities which may damage or have an adverse impact on quality of the environment or natural resources of the State.

No development activity shall be carried out or commenced until:

• the EIA report required to be submitted to the NREB is approved and the NREB has given permission in writing for such activities to be undertaken or commenced, and

• the person or project developer has undertaken in writing to comply with the orders or directives of the NREB

EIA studies are carried out by experts or consultants who have been duly registered and approved by the NREB. The NREB maintains a reference list of all of these environmental experts or consultants.

Livestock Farming

Environmental pollution caused by the disposal of livestock wastes into watercourses has prompted the State to enact a law in 1996 known as the Natural Resources and Environment (Control of Livestock Pollution) Rules.

This law was made under section 18 (v) of the Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance. The Rules, which came into force on 1 January 1997, require all livestock farms to install facilities for the treatment of livestock wastes prior to the issuance of licences by the Controller of Environmental Quality.

Water Pollution Control

Under section 30 A (a) of the Ordinance, any person who knowingly does any act or conducts any activity which pollutes or contaminates any inland waters shall be guilty of an offence: Penalty, a fine of fifty thousand ringgit and imprisonment for five years.

Since 1998, the NREB has launched River Watch Programme (RWP) to monitor water quality in all major rivers of Sarawak. The parameters included in the monitoring programme are :- Dissolved Oxygen (DO), pH, temperature, salinity, conductivity, turbidity, total suspended solids, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), ammoniacal nitrogen and total coliform counts.

The State Government has directed NREB to ensure that the water quality in all rivers of Sarawak be maintained to at least Class IIB of the Proposed Interim National Water Quality Standards (INWQS). In this regard, the NREB is imposing strict control of human activities in catchments of rivers.

Sarawak had designated 1.09 million ha as Water Catchment Areas under the provisions of the Water Ordinance 1994 for the conservation, protection and development of inland water resources.

C.R.E.M... The Centre for Remote Environmental Monitoring within Menara Pelita makes detection of open burning 'hotspots' easier.

Urban Environment and Public Health

As the leading environmental enforcement agency in Sarawak, the NREB has the responsibility to ensure a high quality of public health and urban environment. It is therefore an active channel to receive public complaints on environmental issues especially in the urban areas.

Immediate investigations are carried out and appropriate action undertaken to alleviate the situation. Beside, the Board also conducts regular monitoring on illegal dumping and open burning activities as an effort to safeguard environmental quality and reduce health hazards.

Since its formation in 1994, the Board has successfully created significant impact in policy planning and management practices in various sectors of development in the State. The Board’s commitment in regulating and enhancing the quality of our natural environment will ensure the sustainable use of the natural resources which provides the basis for continuous economic development in Sarawak.

The Board will continue to be the lead agency in environmental management and protection for sustainable development of the State. The Board can be contacted at:

18th & 19th Floors, Menara Pelita

93050 Petra Jaya

Kuching

Tel: 082-447448

Fax: 082-312800

e-mail: swk@tm.net.my

 
 
 
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