Malaysia: Haze despite Indonesia’s swift action to combat forest fires

The Star 19 Aug 16;

TAIPING: The haze is back despite Indonesia’s swift action to combat forest fires.

Some cities in the country have recorded moderate API (air pollu­tant index) readings in the past week and when asked about it, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the haze season was back.

Wan Junaidi said it had been happening for a week due to the forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan in Indonesia.

But he said things had changed as the Indonesian authorities were taking swift action to combat forest fires but the effects of it were still being felt in the country.

“It hasn’t reached critical stage but I will write a letter to Indonesia Forestry and Environment minister (Dr Siti Nurbaya Bakar) to tell her that the haze is coming here.

“We don’t want to pick a fight but we just want to notify them that the haze is back,” he told reporters after launching the National Ecosystem Mangrove Conservation Day at the Larut-Matang Mangrove Swamp here.

Earlier last month, Wan Junaidi said Malaysia would not experience a severe trans-boundary haze this year.

He said this was because Indonesia seemed to be doing its part to honour its commitment to keep the annual phenomenon in check.

Wan Junaidi added that the haze would not be so serious this year as Indonesia faced a lot of pressure from Malaysia and Singapore as both nations suffer the most.

He revealed that there were seve­ral hotspots in the country but the Environment Department and other agencies had rectified the si­tuation quickly.

KL to tell Jakarta haze now hitting Malaysia
BERNAMA New Straits Times 18 Aug 16;

TAIPING: The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry will inform neighbouring country Indonesia that land clearing and forest fires in central Sumatra have brought haze to some parts of Malaysia.

Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said he would send an official letter to Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Dr Siti Nurbaya Bakar on the matter.

“We will inform her that we see the haze already reaching some parts of Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak,” he told reporters after officiating at the national-level International Day for the Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystem 2016 in Kuala Sepetang, here, today.

Wan Junaidi said although Indonesia had acted fast to put out the forest fires, the smoke could not be prevented from causing haze.

“Now they are quick (to extinguish the fires) when they get the indicators of fire outbreaks, unlike before, indicating that they are implementing what they had promised,” he said, adding that the haze hitting Malaysia had not reached unhealthy levels yet.

According to the Department of Environment website, as at 3pm today, 33 areas recorded moderate Air Pollutant Index (API) readings.

API readings of 0-50 indicate good air quality, 51-100 (moderate), 101-200 (unhealthy), 201-300 very unhealthy, and 300 and above (hazardous). --Bernama