Malaysia: Is the haze making a return this year?

Mohd Roji Kawi New Straits Times 20 Jul 18;

KUCHING: The haze could be making a return to our shores following the week-long hot spell.

Making matters worse, the hot weather which has also struck West Kalimantan, Indonesia, has also triggered numerous forest fires in the neighbouring country.

According to Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Unit, a total of 194 hotspots have been detected in West Kalimantan as of yesterday evening.

From the total, 69 were 'high' hot spots; 47 were rated 'moderate' while the rest were deemed normal.

Based on previous experience, the existence of hotspots, caused by forest fires, were among main triggers for the haze phenomenon.

Open-burning activities in Indonesia's agricultural areas have also compounded matters.

Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department director, Nor Hisham Mohamad said, from Sunday to 8am today, 112 cases of forest, bush and peat fires have been reported in the state.

The most severe peat fire incident is taking place in the Tabung Haji oil palm plantation in Simunjan, involving a blaze affecting a 10-hectare area.

"We have deployed a team to monitor a hotspot location detected in Meludam, Betong.

"We advise the public to cease any open-burning activities as it can have an impact not just on the locals, who are exposed to smoke and other pollutants, but may also trigger the haze," he said.

He said close monitoring is being conducted statewide in high risk areas such as the peat land near Institut Latihan Perindustrian (ILP) in Miri.

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