Malaysia: Hazy days continue in Klang Valley

FIRDAOUS FADZIL The Star 18 Aug 16;
PETALING JAYA: Yesterday was another dreary day for Klang Valley folks as the haze continues to blanket many areas for most of the day.

As the number of hot spot rises in Indonesia, more areas are beginning to feel the effect, with Tanjung Malim becoming the first to record an unhealthy Air Pollutant Index (API) level of 110.

The air quality is considered unhealthy when the reading is between 101 and 200.

The index showed an increase in more areas with moderate reading. Only 20 out of 52 areas are marked as having low pollution.

As at 5pm, apart from Tanjung Malim, five other areas hit above 70 mark, namely Shah Alam (80), Kua­la Selangor (81), Banting (73), Port Klang (84), Ipoh (70) and Kuching (71).

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the haze was caused by the fire in the middle of Sumatra, which was carried by the south-west monsoon.

Based on Asean Specialised Me­­teorological Centre there has been an increase in the number of hotspots detected by NOAA-19 Satellite.

“Seventy-seven hot spots were de­­­tected in Kalimantan and 23 in Su­­matra,” said Wan Junaidi yesterday.

He said four hotspots were detected in Pahang and Sarawak and they were now being investigated and actions would be taken against those responsible.

Wan Junaidi said Malaysia was still waiting for a formal request from Indonesia to help resolve the peat fire problems there.

He said Indonesia had deployed 3,000 police personnel and soldiers to help the fire and rescue department put out the fire.

“We will also activate our haze committee next week and begin our meeting on how to overcome the situation,” said Wan Junaidi.

He also reminded the public not to burn openly or allow their land or premises to be trespassed to prevent open burning from happening.


Dry weather, open burning causing haze
WANI MUTHIAH The Star 17 Aug 16;

KLANG: Dry weather conditions along with south-westerly winds now blowing in the region, coupled with open burning are causing hazy conditions.

This occurance is prevalent especially over the central part of Peninsular Malaysia, which include Klang Valley, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Madius Tangau.

He added that Malaysia is currently experiencing the southwest monsoon since the third week of May 2016, which is expected to last until mid September 2016.

"During the southwest monsoon, the atmospheric conditions throughout the country will be dry and thus, bring less rain to the country as compared to other seasons," said Tangau.

Haze associated with local burning activities and transboundary haze from the neighbouring country is expected to occur during the dry weather conditions.

However, isolated afternoon rain is expected to occur throughout the country until end of this week.

"Likewise, the south westerly wind is expected to persist till end of the week.

"As such, should the transboundary haze persist or local burning activities occur, hazy weather condition could be expected in our country," said Tangau.

He said based on the satellite image at 3.28pm Tuesday, two hotspots were detected in Pahang and two other hotspots in Sarawak.

Twenty three hotspots were also detected in central Sumatera and 77 hotspots in north western Kalimantan, said Tangau.


Haze briefly crosses into unhealthy range in Malaysia
Today Online 17 Aug 16;

KUALA LUMPUR — The haze in Malaysia worsened on Wednesday (Aug 17), with some areas crossing into the unhealthy range on the Air Pollutant Index (API) for the first time this dry season.

Tanjung Malim in Perak registered a reading of 110 on the API as of 5pm but as of 7pm, the air quality showed a slight improvement as it recorded a reading of 89 on the API.

The air pollution has been attributed to dry weather conditions along with the south-westerly winds that are blowing in the region and open burning in the neighbouring country of Indonesia.

According to the nation’s Department of Environment, an API reading of between zero and 50 indicates good air quality; between 51 and 100, moderate; between 101 and 200, unhealthy; between 201 and 300, very unhealthy; and more than 301, hazardous.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Madius Tangau said on Wednesday that the occurrence is prevalent especially over the central part of the peninsula, including the Klang Valley.

He was quoted by The Star as saying that Malaysia is currently experiencing the south-west monsoon that began in the third week of May and is expected to last until mid-September.

Mr Tangau said the weather would be dry and Malaysia would see less rainfall as compared to the other seasons during the south-west monsoon.

Transboundary haze from Indonesia is expected to occur during dry weather conditions, and this will be compounded by local burning activities. However, the country could expect isolated afternoon rain until the end of this week.

“The south-westerly wind is expected to persist until the end of the week. As such, should the transboundary haze persist or local burning activities occur, hazy weather conditions could be expected in our country,” Mr Tangau told the news agency.

As of 9am Wednesday, several areas in Selangor registered moderate readings, with the highest reading of 89 recorded in Port Klang, followed by areas such as Shah Alam (85), Banting (80), Kuala Selangor (78) and Petaling Jaya (74).

Malaysia’s administrative capital Putrajaya saw a reading of 77, followed by Pahang’s Indera Mahkota with 75; Batu Muda, Cheras and Nilai at 71 and Kuching at 70.

As of 5pm Wednesday, 31 areas in the country registered a moderate reading, with Port Klang recording a reading of 84 followed by Kuala Selangor (81); Shah Alam (80); Banting (73) and Kuching (71).

The transboundary haze caused by widespread fires in Indonesia which blanketed the region from September to November last year was one of the worst in recent history, affecting tens of millions of people.

Last year, Singapore’s National Environment Agency sent notices to six companies directing them to put out fires allegedly contributing to the haze.

It was reported on Monday that changing winds would see air pollution from fires in Indonesia hit Malaysia next week. The annual crisis for Malaysia including Singapore has pushed countries in the region to agree on a roadmap on regulating transboundary haze pollution which was finalised last week.

Malaysia’s Natural Resources and Environment Minister Mr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said last week that Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) member states have agreed on a roadmap to ensure the region is free from transboundary haze by 2020, as part of a series of joint actions to combat the annual problem. AGENCIES

Early signs of haze in Selangor?
New Straits Times 17 Aug 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: Several areas in Selangor recorded moderate Air Pollutant Index (API) readings this morning, with the highest reading of 89 recorded in Port Klang at 9am.

Following suit are Shah Alam with 85, Banting at 80, Kuala Selangor (78) and Petaling Jaya (74).

A check on the Department of Environment (DoE) website showed 28 other areas nationwide recorded moderate readings.

Putrajaya recorded a reading of 77 followed by Pahang’s Indera Mahkota with 74, Tanjung Malim (73), Batu Muda, Cheras, Nilai at 71 respectively and Kuching at 70.

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

Hourly API readings can be obtained from DOE’s website at apims.doe.gov.my.

Yesterday, the Metrological Department said the haze is likely to return to blanket the nation with thick smoke due to dry weather as Malaysia has been experiencing the Southwest Monsoon since the third week of May.

“During the dry weather, haze, which is associated with burning activities and transboundary haze from Indonesia, is expected to occur,” said the department.

Based on its satellite images yesterday, two hotspots were detected in Peninsular Malaysia (Pahang) and two in Sarawak.

Meanwhile, Bernama reported that the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre based in Singapore yesterday showed that the number of hotspots in Indonesia had been increasing since several days ago, with 48 hotspots identified in Sumatra and 49 in Kalimantan.

Several areas record moderate air quality
The Star 17 Aug 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: Thirty-one areas nationwide recorded moderate Air Pollutant Index (API) reading ad at 8am Wednesday, with the highest reading of 88 in Port Klang.

According to the website of the Department of Environment (DOE), the area with moderate API reading are Shah Alam (84), Banting (80), Kuala Selangor (77), Putrajaya (76), Petaling Jaya (74), Indera Mahkota, Kuantan (73), Nilai, Batu Muda and Cheras (71) and Kuching (70).

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

Members of the public can refer to the portal apims.doe.gov.my to obtain the current API reading.

On Tuesday, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the situation was influenced by transboundary haze due to land and forest fires in central Sumatra brought by the Southwest Monsoon winds.

According to reports from the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre based in Singapore Tuesday, the number of hotspots in Indonesia had been increasing since several days ago, with 48 hotspots identified in Sumatra and 49 in Kalimantan. - Bernama

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