Monday, September 7, 2015

Air quality in Peninsular Malaysia remains bad

Air quality in Peninsular Malaysia remains bad

Air quality remained bad today as the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia continued to be blanketed by a heavy shroud of haze, with many coastal cities recording an unhealthy reading on the Air Pollutant Index (API).

According to readings published on the Department of Environment's (DOE) website, six locations including Seremban, Malacca, and Putrajaya were rated as unhealthy (100-200) on the API as at 5pm today.

The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said in a statement today that the haze is caused by open burning of forests and land in Sumatera, Indonesia according to satellite images captured by the Singaporean based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The agency detected 132 hot spots in Kalimantan, Indonesia, alone, while only one hot spot was detected in Sumatera due to incomplete satellite coverage as of Sunday.

According to satellite coverage, the ministry said, the haze is expected to spread to Pahang and to east Johor in the next 48 hours while in East Malaysia the haze from Kalimantan is expected to spread to west Sarawak and the waters surrounding both Sabah and Sarawak in the same period of time.

The ministry said the country is still experiencing the southwest monsoon phase that is expected to end by mid-September and noted that the haze will likely dissipate by the monsoon transition phase in October.

Meanwhile, the Environment Department will continue monitoring the status and trend of air quality on an hourly basis due to the uncertain haze situation and increased hot spots in Sumatera and Kalimantan.

All government agencies relevant to haze disaster response have also stepped up efforts in preventing open burning locally that will worsen the already unhealthy air quality.

Local governments and land owners have also been instructed to closely monitor and take preventive actions in places that could easily catch fire such as waste disposal spots, forests, farm land, and industrial complexes.

Meanwhile, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar will also head to Indonesia as soon as possible to meet his counterpart there to discuss solutions and to finalise a memorandum of understanding on cross-border haze prevention.

~News courtesy of The Sun~

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