Sarawak is committed to safeguarding its environment while its economic development gets underway, Environment and Public Health Minister Datuk Sri Wong Soon Koh said Thursday.

As a matter of fact, he said, the state government had long forseen the need to act against environmental degradation.

Wong said it was in this realisation that the state had set up its natural resources and environmental board and enacted many by-laws to monitor, regulate and enforce anti-pollution measures.

He said this when opening a one-day environmental awareness seminar for local community leaders and other participants here.

The minister said it was now an increasingly difficult task to simultaneously balance economic development and prosperity with environment conservation and preservation.

Later, Wong told reporters that he had yet to finalise the list of councillors from all Barisan Nasional component parties in the state for the 2009-2010 term.

He said this was because he had yet to receive the lists from the parties, adding that there would be about 600 councillors appointed or re-appointed for the 24 local councils under his ministry.