Malaysia: Hotspots in country and Indonesia reduce significantly

KOI KYE LEE New Straits Times 7 Aug 14;

PUTRAJAYA: The number of hotspots recorded in the country and Indonesia have reduced significantly.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said a total of 10 hotspots were identified in Sumatra and 15 in Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Previously, 48 and 32 hotspots were recorded in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia, respectively as identified on satellite images by the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC).

Palanivel said in a statement today that there was only one hotspot that was identified in the country, and it was at Sarawak.

He added that this hotspot would be investigated and necessary enforcement action would be taken.

As of 3pm, only 10 areas recorded moderate air quality on the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings.

Among these areas were Bakar Arang, Sungai Petani, Kedah (56); Kampung Air Putih, Taiping, Perak (53); ILP Miri, Sarawak (63); Sri Aman, Sarawak (67); and Batu Muda, Kuala Lumpur (64).

Palanivel reminded the public that open burning was prohibited with the exception of religious activities, cremations or barbecues.

He added that the Department of Environment (DOE) had detected 4,436 open burning in the country from January to Aug 6, and 324 cases were compounded while 115 cases were issued with warning notices.

It was also learnt that 45 open burning cases would be referred for further action.

Five of them have been registered in the Sessions Court.

Dam level nears critical point
p. aruna The Star 9 Aug 14;

PETALING JAYA: The water level at the Sungai Selangor dam has dropped even closer to its critical point.

Yesterday, the level dropped to 31.9% of its capacity. A dam capacity of 30% is deemed critical.

Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) corporate communications and public affairs general manager Priscilla Alfred said while there was still enough water to supply to households at the moment, water disruptions might occur if the dry season continues.

“The usage of water has also gone up – this happens during every dry season as people tend to use more water.

“If this high usage as well as the dry season continues, there may be unscheduled disruptions to the water supply in some areas,” she said yesterday.

The amount of water used by Malaysians per person per day was about 220 litres, she said.

“Since the beginning of the dry season, the usage has increased to about 250 litres per person per day now,” she said.

This, she said, was very high compared to the usage of water in neighbouring Singapore, where they used about 160 litres per person per day.

When the water rationing exercise was imposed in the Klang Valley between February and March, the water level at the Sungai Selangor dam was at 37%.

The dam supplies about 60% of Klang Valley’s raw water needs.

An expert from the industry, who declined to be named, said low water tariff in Selangor contributed to the high usage and waste of treated water. Currently, the tariff for the first 20 cubic metres is 57 sen per cubic metre.

He said the state government should not just rely on water from former mining ponds as these ponds would dry out, too.

“The decision to allow licensed car wash outlets to operate only six hours daily is a good start but why does this only apply to these operators?

“The public should be made to conserve water, too. Hosepipe bans can be imposed to prevent residents from using hoses to water their plants or wash their cars. They can use pails instead – this will save a lot of water,” he said.