Gov’t drafting environment laws

Posted on  09/06/2011  |  Media Centre

Hana Roslan and Rasidah HAB
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Published on The Brunei Times

THE government is drafting three environment-related laws including one on pollution control to boost efforts towards sustainable development.

These are the proposed Environmental Pollution Control Order, Environmental Impact Assessment Order and one for the control of export, import and transit of hazardous waste, Minister of Development Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Suyoi Hj Osman announced yesterday.

The proposed pollution control law seeks to require a person to apply for a licence before occupying or using any premises grouped under pollution works, he said during the National Environment Conference yesterday.

It will include any works relating to air, water and land pollution control, hazardous substances control, and noise control from construction of buildings.

Under the proposed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Order, any person who intends to carry out any of the activities regulated under the Order must submit an EIA to the authority for approval, he said.

The proposed Hazardous Waste (Control of Export, Import and Transit) Order seeks to give effect to the implementation of the Basel Convention of which Brunei is a member.

The minister said legislation is one of the government’s roles in environmental stewardship.

Pehin Dato Hj Suyoi said the government is one of the four elements the country needs to be sustainable. The other elements are measurements, research and civil society.

Baseline and targets are essential to chart Brunei’s journey, to learn where others have gone before and met with successes, he said.

While there have been considerable progress in environmental stewardship, there are many urgent issues to address, he said, citing a Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation study outlining the lack of data, research and technical expertise.

“There is a need to enhance the necessary environmental data collecting systems and establish a national environmental data repository that is accessible to all stakeholders, said Pehin Dato Hj Suyoi.

Jastre will publish the department’s first ‘State of Environment Report’, he added. The report will cover natural environment, human use and impact, environmental quality and environmental governance.

“This report will serve as our baseline against which we can gauge the progress of our efforts towards a sustainable country. I hope the research community will be able to contribute to this effort,” he added.

The minister said Brunei’s gross expenditure on research and development (GERD) listed in Unesco was only 0.04 per cent and almost all were public sector expenditures.

GERD is a basic measure of a nation’s progress in research and development as percentage of its GDP by both private and public sector.

Pehin Dato Hj Suyoi said there has been notable progress in research. Projects were also funded from non-government sources such as the Tenaga Suria Brunei Photovoltaic Power Generation Demonstration Project. “If successful, the project expects to provide enough power for 200 homes and save some 340,000 litres of crude oil and reduce carbon emissions by 960 tonnes (equivalent to the CO2 absorption power of 260 hectares of forests),” he added.

Another research project related to the Heart of Borneo initiative is the Sungai Ingei Faunal Survey Expedition. The survey was aimed at improving the understanding of biodiversity of the areas as part of Brunei’s HoB project implementation framework.

“Change in consumption levels can only be effectively promoted with informed engagement and active participation of the civil society,” the minister added.

“Fostering partnership and working with all the stakeholders is important to inform, inspire, engage and empower them to be involved and take action in environmental conservation. Government collaboration with the business and corporate community has also progressed well,” he said.

The Brunei Times

Please click here for the original article