Haze returns to west coast of peninsula, western Sarawak

The hazy situation in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, this afternoon.

KUALA LUMPUR: The haze returned today to the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and western Sarawak due to forest fires in six provinces in Indonesia.

According to Meteorological Department director-general Jailan Simon, the haze will affect the weather in Penang, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Negeri Sembilan and Putrajaya in the peninsula and Kuching, Serian and Samarahan in Sarawak.

Indonesia has reportedly deployed military and police personnel to douse forest fires in Riau, southern Sumatera, Jambi, western Kalimantan, central Kalimantan and southern Kalimantan.

“So far, 30 to 40 hotspots have been detected in Sumatera. The haze is at a moderate level, but we are monitoring to see if the hotspots increase to 100.

“This month, we forecast dry weather and haze for five days. We advise people to reduce outdoor activities and avoid open burning,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

Jailan said the department is collaborating with the Indonesian government through the meteorology, climatology and geophysical agency to obtain the latest information on the forest fires and hopes that they can be brought under control quickly.

Data released by the Department of Environment on the air pollutant index of Malaysia website showed that the Air Pollutant Index (API) was at an unhealthy level in two areas as at noon today, namely Rompin in Pahang (104) and Johan Setia, Klang, in Selangor (107).

An API of 0-50 indicates good air quality; 51-100, moderate; 101-200 unhealthy; 201-300, very unhealthy and above 300, hazardous.

Meanwhile, the health ministry has advised the people to cut down on outdoor physical activities.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said such activities could increase breathing and metabolism rates, which would lead to haze and hot weather-related illnesses.

He also urged the people to wear face masks and use umbrellas as well as wear caps when outdoors.

“Close all house windows and keep the house clean. Reduce indoor air pollution by not smoking,” he said in a statement here today.

Noor also advised people to drink plenty of water and to seek immediate treatment if they are not well.