Malaysia: Worst of the haze may be over

RAZAK AHMAD The Star 17 Sep 15;

PETALING JAYA: Air quality in most parts of the country saw a big improvement, with the weather authority predicting that the worst of the haze may finally be over.

The number of areas with unhealthy air fell from 34 on Tuesday to 11 as at 5pm yesterday.

Klang Valley residents enjoyed clear skies for the first time in more than a week as all air pollutant index (API) readings in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor fell from unhealthy levels to moderate.

Kuala Selangor had the best air quality with an API of 69, followed by Batu Muda in Kuala Lumpur (73), Putrajaya (76), Cheras (81), Petaling Jaya (81), Banting (83), Port Klang (90) and Shah Alam (92).

An API reading of between 100-200 indicates an unhealthy air quality, 201-300 is very unhealthy while anything above 300 is hazardous.

An API of below 50 denotes good air quality while a reading of between 51 and 100 is considered moderate.

In a statement, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said it expected a reduction in the haze with the onset of the inter-monsoon season that will last until early November.

“During this period, there will be more rain nationwide, especially in the west coast of peninsular Malaysia and western Sabah, and the wind direction will also change,” the ministry said.

Despite the overall improvement, several states still had unhealthy air: Sarawak and Malacca, as well as parts of Terengganu, Sabah and Pahang.

Smog from land and forest fires in central and south Sumatra as well as west, central and east Kalimantan caused the thick haze blanketing much of Malaysia for the past two weeks.

The ministry in its statement said cloud seeding by the Meteorological Department that began on Tuesday would continue until today to induce rain in south Perak, west Pahang, the Klang Valley and Negri Sembilan.

“We have so far managed to induce rain at the Pahang-Selangor border, south Perak and several parts of the Klang Valley.”

Haze In Kuching: Two Flights Cancelled, Six Flights Delayed
Bernama 17 Sep 15;

KUCHING, Sept 17 (Bernama) -- Two flights at the Kuching International Airport (LTAB Kuching) had been cancelled up to 10am today due to the haze.

The airport's manager, Mohd Nadzim Hashim said one was a flight arrival and the other, departure, involving the Kuching-Tanjung Manis and Tanjung Manis-Kuching sectors.

"MASwings flights using the Twin Otter aircraft from Kuching-Tanjung Manis and Tanjung Manis-Kuching have been cancelled due to the haze. The cancellations involve seven passengers," he said when contacted today.

Mohd Nadzim said the hazy conditions had also caused delays to three flight departures at LTAB Kuching and to three flight arrivals.

"The two airlines affected are AirAsia and Malindo Air, causing flight arrival delay to 430 passengers and flight departure delay to another 431 passengers," he added.

Mohd Nadzim advised all passengers flying via LTAB Kuching to check their flight schedules with the airlines they are flying with before going to the airport.

As at 11am today, the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading in Kuching was at 209, indicating very unhealthy air quality.


Haze: Kuching, Samarahan schools ordered close
SHARON LING The Star 17 Sep 15;

KUCHING: While schools in haze-hit states in the peninsular have reopened, those in Kuching and Samarahan divisions in Sarawak have been told to close on Thursday as the air quality hovers near the very unhealthy level.

"Effective this morning, schools in Kuching, Samarahan, Padawan, Lundu and Bau are advised to close because the API reading is nearly 200 - the very unhealthy level," the state Education Department said in a statement Thursday.

It added that the schools were being contacted to inform parents to bring their children home.

The Air Pollutant Index (API) for Samarahan showed 195 as at 7am.

In Kuching it was 196, Kapit 138, Sarikei 117, Sri Aman 127 and Sibu 110.

An API of 100 to 200 is considered unhealthy.

Schools in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Negri Sembilan and Malacca, which were told to close on Tuesday, reopened on Thursday after API readings fall to the lower end of the unhealthy zone.

Haze: Cloud seeding brings rain in affected areas
The Star 17 Sep 15;

KUALA LUMPUR: Cloud seeding operations in northern Selangor, southern Perak and west Pahang have successfully generated rainfall in the areas.

Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) Minister Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said it brought rainfall to several areas near the Selangor and Perak border, northern border of Selangor and Pahang and southern Perak and the Pahang border.

"As for Sarawak, cloud seeding was conducted around Tebekang in Samarahan division and the areas of Balai Ringindan Pantu in Sri Aman but it was not successful," he said in a statement.

Tangau said the operation failed due to the dry and stable atmospheric condition which could not promote the growth of clouds during the cloud seeding operation.

Slight increase in respiratory-related cases
OLIVIA MIWIL New Straits Times 17 Sep 15

TUARAN: There are only slight increase number of respiratory cases related to haze in the country, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S.Subramaniam.

"There are cases received at out-patient clinics in Selangor, Malacca and Seremban, but it is not a drastic increase.

"By now, the people of Malaysia know how to take care of themselves," he said in a press conference after launching new district hospital this morning.

Public are advised to reduce outdoor activities when the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings hit above 150 or wear mask when going outdoor.

He asded face mask supply was still enough for the people.

Meanwhile, Science, Technology and Innovation minister cum Tuaran MP Datuk Madius Tangau said cloud seeding would be conducted when the API reaading persist above 150 for 72 hours.

"Cloud seeding had been conducted in several places yesterday but only suceeded in Putrajaya."