BANGI - Malaysia and Indonesia are drafting a memorandum of understanding to tackle trans-boundary haze, says Natural Resource and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel.
"The haze in Malaysia comes mainly from Sumatra, as well as from some domestic peat fires."
"We are looking into a bilateral agreement to address open burning, and share experiences and expertise on the matter," he said after launching the International Ozone Day event at Universiti Kuala Lumpur Malaysia France Institute here yesterday.
Palanivel said the Government would crack down on offenders involved in open burning by seeking to impose stiffer fines.
There are currently nine hotspots in Malaysia, with one each in Kedah, Johor and Sabah, two in Terengganu and and four in Pahang.
On the Ozone Day, Palanivel said Malaysia was working to phase out hydrochlorofluorocarbons.
"Beginning January next year, the import of ozone-destroying hydrochlorofluorocarbons will be reduced by 10 per cent from the congealing point in 2013.
"This is a challenge for the industry, which has to change the technology to make products that use alternative material that do not affect the ozone layer and the environment in general.
"We all have a responsibility to protect the ozone layer by using products that do not contain ozone-depleting substances," he said.
The United Nations said on its website that the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer, had so far "been successful in meeting some of its targets on phasing out ozone-depleting substances".
"As a result, the abundance of ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere is declining and the ozone layer is expected to recover around the middle of this century," it said.