“Burn ban” now lifted
The Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB) had now lifted the burn ban which it previously issued on March 22 to mitigate the effects of the increasing number of uncontrolled fire incidents that usually occur during drier months.
In a public statement, the EQPB stated that reports on improving weather conditions from the National Weather Service office had prompted them to lift the burn ban.
“Th[e] burn ban is no longer necessary as Palau transitions into its wet season,” the public announcement reads.
But even with the lifting of the ban, the EQPB still requires the public to obtain an open burning permit when conducting any burning activities and those who will be found engaging in a burning activity without securing the permit will be imposed a maximum civil penalty of up to $10,000 per day.
Getting burning permits from the EQPB is free of charge. Those who are granted the open burning permits are also urged to follow certain conditions indicated on the permit which include “ensuring that all burning occurs within a confined area not exceeding five feet in diameter, the burning does not occur less than 500 feet from a public road or residence, all burning must be done between 9 a.m. and one hour prior to sunset, and no burning of plastic, oil, and other material that will emit black smoke. “
“These conditions ensure that the quality of our environment is preserved, and minimizes the potential impacts on public health. The burning of non-biodegradable materials, such as plastics, rubber, or oil, in particular, has severe consequences on those that experience respiratory problems. It is also important to contain any burning to prevent the occurrence of wildfires, as they can lead to increased soil erosion and sedimentation that ultimately affects terrestrial and marine life, negatively impacts the quality of our drinking water, and makes it difficult for land to revegetate,” the public announcement reads. (Rhealyn C. Pojas/Reporter)