Call to extend study on buffer zones

Posted on December 4, 2010. Filed under: Ecology |

-The Borneo Post-

SANTUBONG: The Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) will submit a proposal under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) to extend the study on buffer zones to increase developed areas along rivers.

FOR THE ALBUM: Wong (seated centre), and (seated from third left) Peter, Nansian and Dr Penguang with NREB senior officers after the opening. – Photo by Jeffery Mostapa

Its controller Peter Sawal said part of the study conducted in Mukah under the 9MP had been completed, and the effort would be extended to another area once approved by the federal government.

“It is put in the conditions of our EIA (environmental impact assessment) report that there must be sufficient buffer carried out for any development along rivers. The guideline we last used was based on that of the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID).

“We have come up with a better guideline on buffer zone based on soil and vegetation of the area. We are making use of other parameters to come up with a new formula to set aside buffer zone for development.

“Once this guideline is implemented, we will improve in terms of trapping erosion from developed areas from entering rivers and streams,” he told reporters after the opening of the board’s Senior Officers Retreat 2010 at Damai Puri Resort and Spa here by Minister of Environment and Public Health Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh yesterday.

Twenty-one NREB senior officers from throughout the state are attending the three-day programme to discuss issues affecting the state’s environment and board’s overall strategic plan.

Wong pointed out that under the Land Code, buffer zones for development along rivers in the state had to be looked into.

“We ought to have river reserve, which is a buffer zone. This is in the Land Code – something like roads and road reserve.”

The Second Finance Minister said the state government wanted to see proper buffer zones in place to enhance the quality of rivers.

In his opening remarks, Wong called on the board to translate the principles of sustainable development into reality and appropriate strategies to better address environmental pollution.

NREB should assess the impact of all development on environment to ensure the necessary factors were incorporated into land use planning to minimise pollution, which might compromise the quality of life, he said.

“Our careful environmental planning should result in orderly development of our state and quality of living environment for generations to come,” he added.

He urged the board to set up specific key performance indicators (KPIs) to help guide its staff focus on value-added activities.

Appropriate KPIs would enable the management to better control the results, particularly in view of the rising number of mega projects taking place throughout the state.

The board would face greater challengers as it was tasked with regulating all development activities to minimise any adverse impact on the environment, he said.

“Although some incidences are beyond our control and jurisdiction, we cannot simply brush them aside as being the (concern of the) environmental agency,” added Wong.

Among those present were Assistant Minister of Environment Datuk Peter Nansian Ngusie and permanent secretary to the Ministry of Environment and Public Health, Dr Penguang Manggil.


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