Malaysia: Penang chokes under haze

Hafiz Marzukhi and Edmund Goh The Star 26 Jul 13;

GEORGE TOWN: Air quality continued to worsen in Penang due to the haze while neighbouring Kedah, Perlis and Perak saw slight improvement.

The Air Pollutant Index (API) registered at the Department of Environment (DOE) monitoring station in Seberang Jaya showed an unhealthy level of 102 at 1pm before improving to 100 two hours later.

At the stations in Prai and Uni­­versiti Sains Malaysia, the readings were moderate at 94 and 88, respectively, as at 3pm.

This was an increase compared to Wednesday when it was 83 (Prai), 78 (Seberang Jaya) and 79 (USM) at 5pm.

Visibility levels in Bayan Lepas and Prai were at 6km at 3pm while in Butterworth, it was at 5km.

Meanwhile, most stations in Perak recorded only slight improvement in the reading.

According to the DOE, the highest reading of 98 came from the SK Jalan Pegoh station in Ipoh as of 2pm.

The Seri Manjung station recorded a reading of 93, an improvement from its Wednesday reading of 123.

The reading for Kampung Air Putih in Taiping was 78, while the Jalan Tasek station in Ipoh and Tanjung Malim station were 68 and 65, respectively.

In Kedah, the haze situation was relatively better with an API reading of 51 recorded at the Alor Setar station and 73 at the Batu Arang station in Sungai Petani.

In Perlis, the air quality was considered good as the reading was at 44.

Penang air quality near 'unhealthy'
New Straits Times 26 Jul 13;

GEORGE TOWN: Penang was shrouded in haze yesterday morning as the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings in the state hit the highest in the past week.

From 6am to 10am, the readings in Prai, Seberang Jaya and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) hit above 80, close to the "unhealthy" level of between 100 and 200.

At USM, the API was at 81, 84 and 83 at 8am, 9am and 10am respectively, while in Prai, the readings were at 84, 86, 88, 90 and 92, increasing steadily from 6am to 10am.

The API readings were the highest in Seberang Jaya at 90, 93, 95, 97 and 98.

Visibility was poor, with motorists on the Penang Bridge hardly able to see the island or mainland.

State Department of Environment director Datuk Hassan Mat said the state had one of the worst API readings in the country yesterday morning.

He said it was difficult to predict whether the air quality would worsen, but hoped for rain to clear the air.

"The current situation is not as bad as that in June, when the API readings reached the 'unhealthy' level at one point."

Hassan said the causes of the haze were hot spots in Sumatra, Indonesia, and the wind blowing across the Straits of Malacca and moving northwards.

"We can only hope that rain will come, so that the air quality will improve and return to normal.

"For now, we advise the public to limit outdoor activities, wear face masks and refrain from carrying out burning activities."

The API readings at other stations nationwide recorded "moderate" and "healthy" readings, except for one station in SK Jalan Pegoh in Ipoh, Perak, which recorded an "unhealthy" reading of 104 at 3pm yesterday.

Seri Manjung, Perak, which recorded an "unhealthy" reading on Wednesday, improved to a "moderate" reading of 93 yesterday.

Overall, 14 stations recorded "healthy" readings and 36 recorded "moderate" readings, compared with Wednesday's 12 "healthy" readings and 39 "moderate" readings.

API levels of between 0 and 50 are rated as good, 51 to 100 as moderate, 100 to 200 as unhealthy, 200 to 300 as very unhealthy and more than 300 as hazardous.