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Strict adherence to environmental aspect in Pan Borneo Highway Sarawak project

Friday, 22 June 2018, Kuching: While construction of the Pan Borneo Highway Sarawak is currently on-going at all the 11 works packages, focusing on earthworks, drainage works, geotechnical and bridge works, one important component during this construction stage is the environmental aspect.

Being a responsible Project Delivery Partner (PDP) for this Highway project, Lebuhraya Borneo Utara has undertaken various measures to ensure strict environmental compliance throughout this construction phase.

Regular visits by the Natural Resources and Environmental Board (NREB) to the works packages is one such effort.

To date since the project started in 2015, none of the 11 works packages have received any stop work order or penalty from this environmental governing body with the exception of some notices where all these had been responded in a timely manner through the submission of Corrective Action Reports (CAR).

“All the 11 works packages have received NREB’s Post-EIA Monitoring visits so far where the purpose of the visit is to audit on environmental protection aspects and implementation as per the endorsement of Environmental Management Plan (EMP), Erosion and Sediment Control Plan (ESCP) and the Conditions of Approval (COA) given for the Environmental Impacts Assessment for this Project.

“Other than these audit visits, we also conduct weekly or bi-weekly joint inspections with the main contractor to inspect the site.

“From here, Notice of Improvement (NOI) for minor issues can result. For major non-compliance, we will issue Non-Conformance Report (NCR),” said LBU senior environmental officer Parimala Muniandy.

To date, out of the 214 NCR issued by the site team to the main contractors, 188 had been closed with the remaining 26 still pending corrective measures. Most of these involve issues like erosion and sedimentation, waste generation and management, and air quality.

As for the NCR issued by the PDP to main contractors, 48 out of the 73 issued had been closed with the remaining 25 still pending.

“On the PDP part, we also embark on our internal audit and even a second party audit on the main contractor. Monthly meetings are also conducted at the site-level to discuss and solve issues pertaining to not only the environment but also safety, health and traffic matters.

“At the head office level, we have the quarterly coordination and management meeting to discuss various issues and to update the current status of the implementation,” Parimala added.

She also gave examples of some notable good practices observed at construction sites.

“For instance, we observed that unused test cubes are not thrown away but instead being reused as flower planting pot at Telok Melano-Sematan (TMS) site office.

“Unused old tyres are also stored properly for otherwise it will become the mosquitoes breeding ground and become very unsightly.

“I am happy to see for example the use of 3R Bins (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) at Pantu site office and Tatau laydown area to promote the awareness on the need to recycle to conserve the environment,” said Parimala, adding that the rainwater harvesting method was also adopted at some site offices.