Be more firm with Indonesia, says haze-ridden Sarawak

Kuching was enveloped in haze this morning. Air quality was reported as ‘very unhealthy’ throughout the day. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: The Sarawak state government wants the Federal Government to be more assertive in asking Indonesia to deal with its open burning in forests that have caused haze to overwhelm the state.

In Kalimantan alone, 1,087 hot spots have been detected while another 306 are in Sumatra, Bernama reported.

Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah Embas said Putrajaya must consult with Jakarta on how to resolve the issue.

“We hope the federal government can help us to discuss with Indonesia to restore the situation to the way it was. It needs federal to federal discussion as the state government does not have the power to act,” he said today, according to Bernama.

“Very unhealthy” air quality was reported in Kuching and Samarahan today, with “unhealthy” air in Sri Aman, Sarikei, Kuala Baram and Sibu.

Air quality levels at 8pm today. (Environment Department API figures)

The Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre based in Singapore reported that scattered hotspots in West Kalimantan continued to emit moderate to dense smoke haze, which had been blown by the prevailing winds to affect western Sarawak.

The hotspot and haze situation is expected to persist in view of dry conditions expected over many areas in Sumatra and Kalimantan for the next few days.

Haze distribution in Kalimantan today. (Source: Asean Specialised Meterological Centre)

The centre said: “In Sumatra, moderate to dense smoke haze from persistent hotspots continued to be observed in the provinces of Riau, Jambi, and South Sumatra. The prevailing winds have been blowing some of the smoke haze from hotspots in Riau toward the Strait of Malacca. Isolated hotspots were also detected in Lampung.

“Widespread moderate to dense smoke haze was observed over southern parts of Kalimantan as a result of build-up of smoke haze from persistent hotspot clusters in South and Central Kalimantan. In West Kalimantan, scattered hotspots continued to emit moderate to dense smoke haze, which has been blown by the prevailing winds to affect western Sarawak.”

Hotspots reported in Indonesia today. (Source: Asean Specialised Meterological Centre)