Malaysia: Aerial patrols for the jungles

The Star 19 Nov 12;

PUTRAJAYA: Environmental protection efforts will be expanded to the skies following the decision to launch the Aerial Jungle Monitoring Programme early next year, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said.

The Cabinet had agreed during its meeting last week to provide RM2mil to fund the programme, which is aimed at improving enforcement of environmental laws and regulations, said Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas.

The aerial patrols would keep tabs on development projects that are carried out in the jungle.

Aerial monitoring would also be extended to other sources of pollution including open burning, release of black smoke from industrial chimneys, release of effluents into the groundwater, beach and coastal pollution and oil spills.

“The programme is needed to carry out enforcement of conditions laid out in the approval of the EIA (environmental impact assessment) for projects, especially at high altitudes.

“For projects in jungles that do not fall under activities laid out in the EIA, the need for erosion and sediment control plan (ESCP) and best management practices can be identified and stated in conditions for logging licences. It can also minimise river pollution,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Douglas added that the programme will be an integrated effort – called 1 NRE Enforcement – which would involve agencies under his ministry with the aim of utilising all available manpower and resources to check on the development projects.

“Aerial monitoring is aimed at improving effectiveness in locating sources of pollution or incidents where environmental laws are broken, especially in areas which are difficult to access overland,” he said.

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