EQPB issues ‘burn ban’
The Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB) issues a ban on all types of outdoor burning throughout Palau until further notice.
The burn ban is typically issued during these drier months in the hopes of mitigating the effects of the increasing number of uncontrolled fires usually seen this time of year. [restrict]
There have already been numerous instances of uncontrolled wildfires throughout Babeldoab that threaten the environment and had put additional strain on our currently limited water supply, and place public safety at risk.
EQPB advised the public to cease all burning activities, especially at farms, savannahs, and homes as these can quickly become uncontrollable and spread to surrounding areas.
Wildfires have a significant impact on biodiversity as well as public health. In particular, burnt land leads to increased soil erosion and sedimentation that ultimately affects terrestrial and marine life, negatively impacts the quality of our drinking water, makes it difficult for land to revegetate, and could result in various health problems.
These uncontrolled wildfires also stress the already limited water supply as indicated by a public advisory issued on March 20th by the National Emergency Committee which placed Palau under a “Water Shortage Alert” due to low water levels at the Ngerikiil Dam.
The EQPB will not be issuing any open burning permits during this time, and thus burning of any kind is prohibited. The public is reminded that burning without a permit can result in a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per day. [/restrict]