Malaysia: Air quality and visibility worsen in most parts of country

Sim Leoi Leoi and Christopher Tan The Star 8 Sep 11;

PETALING JAYA: People with respiratory problems have been advised to stay indoors and take precautions after air quality worsened in most parts of the county, with Klang Valley recording poor visibility and moderately bad air quality.

The haze caused by the overnight increase of hotspots from 62 to 120 in Sumatra, Indonesia, caused the sky in the Klang Valley and other cities and towns to be overcast.

Most areas around the city as well as certain northern states also recorded a drop in visibility levels.

A Meteorological Department spokesman said the haze would “come and go” as the southwest monsoon winds would blow it over from the burning hotspots in Sumatra.

“Rain can do little to help as the haze may return once the rain is gone,” the spokesman said, adding that the monsoon season was expected to end by late October or early November.

As at 5pm yesterday, the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading on the Department of Environment's (DOE) website for Petaling Jaya rose to 86 from 79 six hours earlier while that for Shah Alam was at 90, close to unhealthy levels.

Other areas where the API readings recorded moderate air quality were Port Klang (83) and Banting (71) in Selangor, and Batu Muda (84) and Cheras (77) in Kuala Lumpur. The API reading for Nilai, Negri Sembilan, was 80.

The reading for SK Jalan Pegoh in Ipoh was slightly worse at 82 while that for Seberang Jaya 2 in Prai was little changed from Tuesday.

A good API reading is from 0-50, moderate (51-100), unhealthy (101-200), very unhealthy (201-299) and hazardous (from 300 and above).

The Meteorological Department recorded visibility levels for Petaling Jaya and Subang as having dropped to 3km. At the same time on Tuesday, both these areas had visibility levels of up to 6km and 8km respectively.

Poor visibility was also recorded in Alor Setar and Ipoh, both at 3km, and Perai in Penang at 5km. Normal visibility levels are at 10km and above.

The latest satellite imagery on the DOE's website showed the number of hotspots at 120 as at 3.45pm yesterday, an increase from 62 hotspots detected on Tuesday.

Although some rain has been forecast in the Klang Valley for next week, this is not expected to be heavy, the spokesman said.

“Most of the rain is expected to occur in remote areas like Hulu Selangor and Gombak. It's not going to be as wet as the week preceding Hari Raya,” he said, adding that Peninsular Malaysia was still in the midst of the southwest monsoon, which was a generally dry period.

Brace For Hazy Condition
Bernama 7 Sep 11;

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 (Bernama) -- Some parts of the country will be experiencing a hazy condition for several days as no rain is expected there for five consecutive days.

The areas are Arau (Perlis), Kota Setar (Kedah), Seberang Perai Utara (Penang), Kinta and Manjung (Perak), Kepong, Klang, Petaling and Sabak Bernam (Selangor), Batu Pahat (Johor) and Miri (Sarawak), said the Meteorological Department in a statement Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, the Department of Environment (DOE) said hazy condition that enveloped the Klang Valley, northern states, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan and several areas in Pahang this morning was due haze from fire in Sumatra, Indonesia.

It urged the public to refrain from carrying out open burning and help put out small fire and report any open burning activities to the Fire and Rescue Department at 999 or the DOE at toll-free 1-800-88-2727.

Until 11am, the Air Pollutant Index (API) in 14 areas in the country recorded a good level and 38 a moderate level, said the DOE.

Among areas which recorded a moderate API level were Shah Alam, Selangor (84), Sekolah Kebangsaan Jalan Pegoh, Ipoh (83) and Port Klang (81) while good API level was registered in Sarikei (30), Sri Aman (31) and Kuching (32) (all Sarawak).


Malaysia: Air quality down in many parts of country
Florence A. Samy The Star 7 Sep 11;

PETALING JAYA: Air quality has dipped in many parts of the country even as hotspots continue to be detected in Sumatra.

As at 5pm yesterday, 36 areas recorded moderate air quality readings compared to 33 at 11am and 27 at 5pm on Monday. The remaining areas had healthy readings.

All areas in the Klang Valley recorded a gradual increase in the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings throughout the day yesterday.

The Department of Environment website said Petaling Jaya's API increased from 66 at 7am yesterday, to 73 by 5pm, while the API for Batu Muda went from 64 to 77 over the same period.

The SK Jalan Pegoh station in Ipoh and Nilai in Negri Sembilan recorded the highest API readings at 78 by 5pm yesterday.

Other areas with API readings of above 70 included Cheras (73), Shah Alam (73), Port Klang (70) and Bukit Rambai, Malacca (71).

A good API reading is from 0-50, moderate (51-100), unhealthy (101-200), very unhealthy (201-299) and hazardous (from 300 and above).

The latest regional haze map noted that hotspots and smoke plumes were detected in central and south Sumatra due to the persistent dry conditions.

“Slight to moderate haze was observed to have spread to the Straits of Malacca and as far north as Penang island,” the map notes stated.

As at 7pm yesterday, poor visibility was recorded in Alor Star (2km), Butterworth (3km), Bayan Lepas, Prai and Ipoh at 4km respectively, the Meteorological Department said.

Petaling Jaya and Subang recorded visibility levels of 7km and 6km respectively. Normal visibility levels are at 10km and above.

The department forecast that no rain is expected in Petaling Jaya or Putrajaya over the next four days, while the rest of the Klang Valley is expected to experience isolated showers or fair weather.

A similar weather pattern is forecast for Kedah, Malacca, Negri Sembilan and Perlis. The remaining states are expected to have isolated showers, rain or thunderstorms over the next few days,

The southwest monsoon, which is generally a dry season with occasional rain, is expected to end later this month.

Haze is back with 'moderate' readings
New Straits Times 7 Sep 11;

KUALA LUMPUR: The haze is back nationwide, with the highest readings in Shah Alam and Port Klang in Selangor, and Seberang Prai in Penang.

Readings yesterday showed that the Air Pollution Index (API) in Shah Alam was 84, Port Klang, 81, and Seberang Jaya, 80.

According to the Department of Environment website, most parts of the country showed moderate readings of 51 to 79, while seven areas, mainly in Sabah, showed an API of between 30 and 37.

It is believed that the haze is caused by the prevailing dry weather over the past few days and open burning in Sumatra.

Officials from the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said the situation was still moderate and would only be considered dangerous if the API hits 100 and above.

During this period, people are advised not to carry out open burning and factories have been told to reduce the release of smoke.

Good API ratings range from 0 to 50, while a moderate API is from 51 to 100. An API above 100 is unhealthy.