A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Issue to be addressed Haze presents a massive deterioration of air quality and remains one of the most persistent and challenging environmental issue that seriously impacts our people’s health and livelihood, the economy, tourism, transportation and environment, among others. The worst affected are the young; our little children, and the old; our fathers and mothers, as well as those already suffering from various maladies related to breathing. Haze pollution resulting from peatland fires which has occurred so frequently in recent years can be viewed as an environment disaster. Peatland fires occur when they are indiscriminately drained due to human activity such as logging or for agricultural purposes. A highly drained peatland lowers ground water levels and allows surface water to drain away making peatlands more susceptible to fires. Hence, conservation, effective and sustainable water management in peatlands is crucial to prevent it from burning and cause haze pollution.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
FIRE PREVENTION AND WATER MANAGEMENT IN PEATLANDS The programme was mooted in 2009 and continued under the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP) which involved collaboration from lead agencies under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) with the 1NRE spirit. Lead agencies involved were Department of Environment, Department of Irrigation and Drainage, Department of Mineral and Geoscience and Forestry Department, and as well as from the Local Authorities namely Miri City Council and Residence’s Office of Miri Sarawak. The fire prevention and water management programme in peatlands comprises of three main components such as:- (1) Construction of canal blocks or check dams to increase peatlands’ water levels and retain humidity thus making it difficult to burn; (2) Construction of underground water tube wells for fire suppression; (3) Construction of watch towers for enhanced surveillance; and (4) Public awareness raising through establishment of warning signs on open burning. The programme was implemented in 6 (six) states that have extensive fire prone peatland areas namely in Selangor, Johor, Pahang, Kelantan, Sarawak and Sabah. A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for implementation of this programme was prepared in 2010 to spell out inter-agency roles and responsibilities in prevention, monitoring and mitigation of peatland fires that could contribute to local haze pollution. Among others, regular checking of the peat infrastructures (such as check dam, tube well and watch tower), patrolling and early warning system for fire detection. Until 31st November 2013, a total of 137 check dams were constructed namely in; Johor (54), Pahang (37), Sarawak (23), Selangor (8), Kelantan (11) and Sabah (4). A total of 40 tube wells were constructed; Sarawak (10), Pahang (10), Johor (6), Selangor (4), Kelantan (5) and Sabah (5). A total of 3 watch towers were constructed each in the state of Selangor, Pahang and Sarawak. • Tube well and check dam • Watch tower • Public awareness raising on fire prevention

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
- Focusing on the frequently burnt peatlands in the country (micro-managing of peatland) - Construction of the canal blocks / check dam using cheaper and easily found materials such as sand/earth bags, tree trunks etc with minimal CAPEX - More check dams could be built in a particular area to prevent fires - Construction of check dams using geobag requires less maintenance compared to fully concrete structures - Tapping local technology and expertise from the lead agencies in the Ministry - Better coordination and cooperation among lead agencies under 1NRE spirit

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
STEPS Preparing financial proposal Budget approval Project site selection Preparing project specifications and scope of work Selection of contractors/tender/quotation Schedule of Implementation Project award Project implementation Monthly progress report and submit Certificate of Project Completion Audit Programme

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Department of Irrigation and Drainage Malaysia acts as the technical provider for the construction of check dams / canal blocks and in accordance with the Guidelines for Design and Construction of Check Dams for Prevention and Control of Peatland Fire, published by the Ministry. Department of Mineral and Geoscience provides the technical specifications for the construction of tube wells, and Forestry Department for the construction of the watch towers.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
YEAR NINTH MALAYSIA PLAN (9MP) BUDGET ALLOCATION (RM) 2009 1,756,470 2010 3,317,000 YEAR TENTH MALAYSIA PLAN (10MP) BUDGET ALLOCATION (RM) 2011 1,430,000 2012 2,638,000 2013 3,080,000 2014 1,147,500 2015 662,300

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The programme had achieved its output, as follows: • Maintaining good air quality days (except when there is transboundary haze from Indonesia) • Peat fires in some project areas had been gradually reduced; • Enhanced partnership between local communities and local government to prevent and control fires; • Effective in reducing response time taken to put out peatland fires in some areas, i.e. from 7 days to 2 or 3 days compared to before this programme was implemented. • Enhanced cooperation among lead agencies under the Ministry

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Evaluation of the effectiveness and implementation of the strategy are through:- • Coordination Meeting among the lead agencies to oversee the implementation of the programme and identify project obstacles for continuous improvement. • Monitoring the number of hotspots (fires) on daily basis in project area, using satellite image and Geographical Information System (GIS) • Audit programme to monitor the effectiveness of the infrastructure and maintenance activities

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
To ensure smooth implementation and follow through, Coordination Meeting among lead agencies is conducted on quarterly basis, chaired by the Director General of Environment.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Reduced peatlands fires had resulted in more good air quality days and better environment to the public. The impact was measured using the KPI as follows:- 2009 99.2% 97.8% 2010 99.4 % 100% Year KPI (PERCENTAGE OF HEALTHY DAYS, EXCLUDING TRANSBOUNDARY HAZE EPISODES) PENINSULAR MALAYSIA SABAH & SARAWAK 2009 99.2% 97.8% 2010 99.4% 100% 2011 99.7% 100% 2012 100 % 97.8% 2013 (Until 16.12.13) 99.1 % 100% Enhanced public perception on Government initiatives and actions taken to prevent and control peatland fires and haze at local level.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Yes, the initiative is sustainable and transferable. Malaysia and Indonesia will continue its bilateral cooperation to prevent transboundary haze through better peatland management. Among the scope of collaboration is to replicate and disseminate the initiative to be implemented in fire-prone peatland in Indonesia, subject to approval from Indonesia.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
To replicate the projects in other fire prone areas and this requires more allocations.

Contact Information

Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   KALSOM ADDUL GHANI
Title:   MS.  
Telephone/ Fax:   603-26871700 / 26871901 / 26871764
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Postal Code:   64574
City:   Putrajaya
State/Province:   PUTRAJAYA

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