by Hana Namrouqa | Aug 06, 2012

AMMAN — The Rangers will increase patrols in heavily wooded areas to put an end to deliberate forest fires, Minister of Environment Yaseen Khayyat said on Monday.

Monitoring of the country’s limited forest areas will be intensified in cooperation with the Rangers and the agriculture ministry to curb arson in forests, Khayyat said in a statement released on Monday.

“It is unacceptable to stay silent over forest fires,” he added, noting that these fires are often set on purpose in order to bypass restrictions on logging.

Authorities dealt with eight forest fires over the past two months in Jerash, Balqa and Ajloun governorates, the last of which contains 140,000 dunums of forests that cover 34 per cent of its total area, according to the ministry.

The statement also highlighted that the ministry and the Rangers are planning to introduce new measures to end the trade in used liquid batteries, which pose a threat to public health and the environment.

“Two trucks loaded with ten tonnes of used liquid batteries were seized last month in Zarqa. The batteries were confiscated and transferred to the Swaqa landfill for hazardous waste,” Khayyat said in the statement.

Also on Monday, the ministry said that in cooperation with the Rangers, it had closed down 20 institutions and issued warnings to 4,202 industries, food outlets, workshops, farms, quarries and brick factories during July.

Environment Ministry Spokesperson Isa Shboul told The Jordan Times that these institutions had violated several environment and health regulations.

Under environmental regulations, violators are either referred to court or issued a warning and given a chance to rectify the situation, failing which they are closed down.

The ministry referred an industrial company to the South Amman Court of First Instance last week for breaching environmental regulations. The company, which manufactures aluminium and is located in Zizya in south Amman, had been warned about emitting excessive fumes and disposing of industrial water and solid waste in undesignated areas.

The ministry also issued warnings to three hospitals in Amman and Zarqa this month for improperly disposing medical waste.