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Haze returns, four areas ‘unhealthy’

 | June 15, 2012

Four areas in Selangor recorded unhealthy levels of air quality, says the Department of Environment, which also expects the haze to continue for the next few days.

PETALING JAYA: Residents in the Klang Valley and Perak awoke to a blanket of haze this morning, a condition that the Department of Environment (DOE) predicted will most likely continue for the next few days.

The DOE, confirming that air quality had worsened in several states in the country today, said that four areas in Selangor recorded “unhealthy” air quality readings as of 11am Friday.

A DOE index release as at 5 pm today showed that the API in Cheras had deteriorated to 105, compared to a reading of 91 earlier.

The API in Port Klang and Shah Alam went up to 147 and 120 respectively, compared to 130 and 106 this morning whereas Kuala Selangor showed a slight improvement at 129 in contrast to 131.

The API for good, or normal, air quality was 50 and below while readings of above 100 to 200 were deemed unhealthy. Readings between 51 and 100 were considered moderate while 201-300 was deemed very unhealthy and anything above 300 was considered hazardous.

Meanwhile, 34 areas recorded a moderate API reading between 51 and 100, while the number of areas with “Good” API dropped to 12 from 14 earlier today.

Among the areas with “moderate” API were Petaling Jaya and Batu Muda, Kuala Lumpur at 99, Banting (95), Sri Manjung in Perak (92), Tanah Merah (88), Putrajaya (78) and Perai (74).

In a statement, DOE said within the last 24 hours, API readings from 51 air quality monitoring stations of the department, 15 areas were at a good levels (11am).

“The deterioration of air quality was first detected at 2am on June 14 at a few stations in the West coast of the Peninsular, namely Alor Setar, Sungai Petani, Kedah, at Seberang Jaya, Penang and at Port Klang, Selangor.”

DOE said that by 11am, deterioration of air quality was detected at three stations – Seri Manjung and Shah Alam and Kuala Selangor in Selangor.

The department said an image report by the NOAA-18 satellite issued by the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre showed that the hotspots in Sumatera, Indonesia had increased from 67 on June 12 to 122 on June 13.

Hotspots in Sumatera

However, the satellite only detected 61 hotspots on June 14 due to clouds.

“These satellite images show that the South-West winds blowing from the hotspots in Wilayah Riau, Sumatera Tengah brought the haze towards the west coast of Malaysia. A ring of moderate haze had formed at the beach side of Sumatera Tengah area which included Malaysia’s west coast.”

The main cause of the haze in Perak and Klang Valley this morning, said DOE, was the haze pollution that had crossed the borders from Sumatera.

The Singapore Meteorological Service, which runs a daily updated regional haze map, had also detected elevated hotspot activities in central and northern Sumatera during the current dry weather condition.

“DOE is always monitoring closely the air quality of the country and has activated the Open Burning Prevention Action Plan at all states as well as increased standard operating procedures in the Prevention of Flammable Peat Soil Programme” said DOE.

These measures were taken to control local causes that could contribute to the worsening of the air situation.

“At the same time, enforcement against fumes from vehicles and industrial factories are being increased.”

“With weather expected to be quite dry in the north and west coast of the peninsular, it is expected that the haze situation will continue for the next few days,” said DOE.

The public is advised against open burning and are asking to put out any small fires or report such cases to the Bomba at 999 or DEO at toll free number 1-800-88-2727.

Meanwhile, according to a Bernama report, a weather forecaster at the Meteorological Department said that rainfall is unlikely to occur soon.

“We forecast slight rain in the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia towards middle or end of next week,” he said.

The country is currently experiencing the Southwest Monsoon, which generally brings dry and hot weather. These conditions are expected to last until September, he added.


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