Open burning at Bakun site, claims watchdog


Contractors have been carrying out open burning at the site of the Bakun Dam, claims a Sarawak watchdog network.

The Sarawak Conservation Action Network (Scane), which brings together about half a dozen indigenous and environmental groups in the state, said in a statement:

The contracts for clear-cutting forest have been commissioned to some contractors since the beginning of the year. The forest area which will be cleared for the dam is 80,000 ha, that is, roughly the size of Singapore Island.

Recently the Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd managing director Zulkifle Osman announced that the impoundment of water catchments would start in October; by then the whole dam reservoir will be flooded. By July 2010, testing for electricity transmission from Bakun dam will start.

Scane wonders how the Sarawak Natural Resources and Environmental Board (NREB) is monitoring the site.  My phone calls to the Board this afternoon were unanswered – as it is probably closed for the weekend.

Scane is also asking if Sarawak Hidro is following an Environmental Management Plan (EMP), if any, as stated in the Bakun EIA.

When contacted, Scane national coordinator Raymond Abin said the network had received reports of such burning from the dam site. He said the last report he received was on Wednesday.

The watchdog network was set up in April to monitor development projects in Sarawak especially their impact on the environment.

Of late, Sarawak has been hit by a dry spell as a thick haze blankets parts of the state. On 12 Aug, the NOAA reported 37 hotspots in Sarawak, with Miri recording an unhealthy level, according to Asean’s haze watch.

The Bakun Dam project is owned and developed by Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, wholly owned by the Finance Ministry.

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16 Aug 2009 12.36am

semua orang tahu yg Bakun Dam ini had failed the EIA lar…hahahahahahhahahha..ingat kami bodoh ka, wahai BN morons…

15 Aug 2009 9.14pm

The Bakun Dam project was cockeyed, peabrained and DOOMED from the word GO. A friend of mine shot a documentary on Bakun during the early days and reported meeting a local who described how his brother, a shaman, dreamt he encountered the penunggu or spirit guardian of the Baram River who said he would never allow such an uncouth rape of his territory to go unpunished. I personally feel the whole project is accursed and will bring nothing but misery,bankruptcy, and madness to all involved in the project. Let’s hope the negative karma rebounds on the two idiots who first… Read more »