Stay indoors, says official as Miri suffers more smog

Air pollution in Miri has remained at “hazardous” levels for the fourth day. (Apims.gov pic)

KUCHING: As Miri went into the fourth day of air quality rated as “hazardous”, Sarawak residents, particularly those in the north, have been advised to reduce unnecessary outdoor activities in light of poor air quality caused by the haze.

State health director Dr Jamilah Hashim said people should drink at least eight glasses of water to stay hydrated.

“Wash your face and other parts of the body that have been exposed to the haze. Those who are coughing, have flu, asthma, eye infection, or chronic lung infection must seek treatment promptly if their condition worsens,” she said in a statement here today.

She said other symptoms that should alert residents to seek immediate treatment are a stinging sensation in the eyes, watery eyes, itchy throat, constant coughing, runny nose, sneezing, difficulty in breathing, chest pain and tingling skin.

Air quality in Miri was recorded at more than 300 on the Air Pollution Index from early this morning, reaching a peak of 396 from 5pm-6pm.

“Unhealthy” levels of air pollution were recorded at Kuala Baram, Sarawak, from last night until early morning, but the readings dropped to “moderate” levels of 83-85 on the API.

However, Johan Setia, Klang, in Selangor, experienced “unhealthy” air polllution levels for the third day in a row, with readings of between 103-136 recorded all day.

The Air Pollution Index is maintained by the Environment Department, which classifies readings of 0 – 50 as “good”; 51 – 100 “moderate”; 101 – 200 “unhealthy”; 201 – 300 as “very unhealthy” and readings above 300 as “hazardous” to health.

The MP for Miri, Dr Michael Teo, told FMT there are hotspots at Tudan where land owners should be held responsible.

“Every year the same areas are burning,” he noted. More prosecutions will solve the problem, he said. However across the border in Kalimantan, Indonesia, many hot spots have cropped up too. “Engagements with the Indonesia authorities is a must,” he added.