Malaysia: Four areas record unhealthy API readings

DAWN CHAN AND TEOH PEI YING New Straits Times 30 Aug 16;

SEREMBAN: The haze situation in the country continues to deteriorate, with four areas recording unhealthy air pollutant index (API) readings this morning.

Thick smog remains at certain areas, with the early morning rain doing little to ease up the haze.

As of 9am, Nilai's API reading stood at 118, followed by Banting (101), Shah Alam (105) and Putrajaya (102).

Port Dickson and Seremban both recorded moderate levels at 60 and 63, respectively. API readings are determined based on an international acceptable protocol which calculates the 24 hour averaging times.

An API of between 0 and 50 is categorised as good, 51 to 100 (moderate), 101 to 200 (unhealthy), 201 to 300 (very unhealthy) and 300 upwards (dangerous).

The public can refer to the Department of Environment website at http://apims.doe.gov.my to find out the current API readings.


Is the haze back?
ZAFIRA ANWAR AND NAIM ZULKIFLI New Straits Times 29 Aug 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: Is the haze back? The Air Pollutant Index (API) in most areas may be at normal level but already, reports are coming in of hazy conditions and a burning smell in the air.

As of 1pm, Nilai registered the worst API reading at 79, followed by Pasir Gudang in Johor (74), Bukit Rambai in Malacca (73), Bandaraya Melaka (72), and Port Dickson (70).

All these five areas, however, were still within the API's moderate category.

In the Klang Valley, the burning smell of smoke hangs thick in the air despite Batu Muda and Cheras recording an API of 49 and 56, respectively, as of noon.

Among areas surpassing the 'good' API level reading are Putrajaya (62), Pelabuhan Kelang (56) and Banting (59).

Members of the public have noted that the Petronas Twin Towers in the city centre are slowly becoming less visible due to the depreciating visibility level.

The visibility levels in Petaling Jaya and Subang both recorded 6km and 1km, respectively. An API of between 0 and 50 is categorised as good, 51 to 100 (moderate), 101 to 200 (unhealthy), 201 to 300 (very unhealthy) and 300 upwards (dangerous).

The public can refer to the portal http://apims.doe.gov.my to find out the current API readings.

Tanjung Malim registers highest API reading in the country
The Star 30 Aug 16;

PETALING JAYA: The Air Pollutant Index (API) in Tanjung Malim, Perak reached the unhealthy level of 121 yesterday.

API readings in Kuala Lumpur was highest in Cheras at 97, followed by Batu Muda (96) and Putrajaya (91). In Selangor, high API readings were recorded in Shah Alam at 93 and Petaling Jaya (91).

API readings of between 0-50 are considered good, moderate (51-100), unhealthy (101-200), very unhealthy (201-300) and hazardous (exceeding 301). The deteriorating air quality in the Klang Valley led many to question the moderate API readings on the Department of Environment’s (DOE) website.

Last Friday, smog blanketed Singapore as the city-state was hit by the year’s first major outbreak of haze, an annual crisis sparked by forest fires in neighbouring Indonesia.

API readings are determined based on an international acceptable protocols, which calculates the 24-hour averaging times for five criteria pollutants, namely Particulate Matter of less than 10 microns (PM10), Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Ground Level Ozone and Carbon Monoxide.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was also concerned about the haze situation, saying that the Government would take the necessary action about it.

He wrote on Facebook: “Looks like the haze has come back outside my office, and several other areas too. If your area is affected, take care of your health, especially the children and senior citizens.”


Unhealthy air quality in Klang Valley despite moderate API readings
DANIAL ALBAKRI The Star 29 Aug 16;

PETALING JAYA: The haze has visibly returned to the Klang Valley despite the fact that Air Pollutant Index (API) on the Department of Environment’s (DOE) website reported ‘good’ to ‘moderate’ readings.

Residents noticed a sharp drop in the air quality Monday and could smell it in the air, with several parts in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor recording poor visibility.

However, some may be left puzzled as API readings for Petaling Jaya was 46, Shah Alam (51), Port Klang (55), Putrajaya (61) and Cheras (45) as at 11am.

According to the DOE, the API readings are based on an average of readings over the previous 24 hours.

For example, the API readings reported on 10am on Monday would be the average reading taken between that time and 10am on the previous day.

Last Friday, acrid smog blanketed Singapore as the city-state was hit by the year’s first major outbreak of haze, an annual crisis sparked by forest fires in neighbouring Indonesia.

API readings are determined based on an international acceptable protocol which calculates the 24 hour averaging times for five criteria pollutants namely Particulate Matter of less than 10 micron (PM10), Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Ground Level Ozone and Carbon Monoxide.

API readings of between 0-50 are considered good, moderate (51-100), unhealthy (101-200), very unhealthy (201-300) and dangerous (exceeding 301).

Any reading above 300 is “hazardous”, meaning the air quality is a hazard to high risk individuals and the public health in general.


Farmers hope for light haze
The Star 30 Aug 16;

PETALING JAYA: Livestock farmers are looking to the skies and keeping their fingers crossed the haze condition will be mild this year.

Federation of Livestock Farmers’ Association of Malaysia president Jeffrey Ng said the situation so far wasn’t bad and its members were hopeful.

Their business would be affected if the haze became as thick as in previous years and caused warmer and drier weather, he said.

He said chickens would lay less eggs while poultry and livestock would take longer to reach market weight due to heat and water shortages.

“Some farmers are preparing by making sure they have an adequate water supply,” he added.

Federation of Pork Dealers Association president Chan Nyen Loong said the extreme haze conditions in 2014 and last year affected breeding and mating.

“Production went down and our costs went up because we had to buy medicine for the sick animals,” he said.

Like human, animals also get affected by the haze, said Malaysian Federation of Ruminant Breeders Association chairman Samad Kassim.

“Cows, goats and buffaloes have trouble breathing if conditions are really bad. They can even die from it,” he said.

At the very least, milk production in the cows and goats drops, he added.

Marine Fish Farmers Association deputy president Mohamed Razali Mohamed said the haze has no direct impact on fish stocks.

But the resulting poor visibility and air quality makes life miserable for the 20,000 workers nationwide in the RM1.2bil industry.

“Haze is much worse at sea level and productivity is affected when workers fall ill,” he said.

Malaysia exports 62,000 tonnes of fish to Singapore, Hong Kong and China annually.


Malaysia expects haze to be less severe this year: Minister
Channel NewsAsia 30 Aug 16;

PUTRAJAYA: The haze in Malaysia is not expected to be as serious as that in 2015 following the end of the El Nino phenomenon, according to Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar on Monday (Aug 29).

Regarding the current dry weather as normal, he said several areas in the country were still receiving normal amounts of rainfall or more since June.

"These areas are expected to continue receiving some rain, which will reduce the dry conditions and haze despite the increasing number of hot spots in Sumatra and Kalimantan in Indonesia.

"The proactive, integrated action by Indonesia in putting out the forest fires would also help to reduce transboundary haze pollution," he said after chairing a meeting of the National Haze and Dry Weather Committee on Monday.

Dr Wan Junaidi said his ministry and each agency involved in managing the haze disaster were stepping up open burning prevention efforts as the problem could cause haze at the local level.

- BERNAMA/CNA/am

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