Haze likely to continue in Malaysia till end Sept
KUALA LUMPUR: The haze in Malaysia is likely to persist until the end of this month due to the low chances of heavy rain and the possibility of uncontrolled open burning in Indonesia.
Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) director-general Jailan Simon said the transboundary haze was expected to continue until the southwest monsoon period ends in late September.
"Chances of heavy rain in Sumatra (and) Kalimantan (in) Indonesia and our country are low in the coming week.
"As such, the possibility of the country experiencing transboundary haze is still high, especially for the western and southern regions of the peninsula and west Sarawak," he said in a statement on Saturday.
He said the haze shrouding several areas in the country, especially in the west coast of the peninsula and west Sarawak, was due to the increase in hot spots in Sumatra and Kalimantan. The haze, he said, would worsen if open burning in the neighbouring country was left uncontrolled.
On Saturday, nine areas nationwide were flagged as having worrying air pollutant index (API) levels.
UNHEALTHY API LEVELS
Eight of these areas were in Sarawak, with Kuching and Samarahan recording a "very unhealthy" API level of over 200.
Kuching had the most polluted air quality on Saturday, with its API level hitting 221 at 5pm. Samarahan recorded a level of 203.
In Peninsular Malaysia, the API level in Johan Setia in Klang was 105.
An API reading of between 0 and 50 is deemed good, 51 to 100 moderate, 101 to 200 unhealthy, 201 to 300 very unhealthy, and 301 and above hazardous.
While other areas nationwide recorded "moderate" API levels, some were close to being categorised as "unhealthy".
Data from the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre showed five hot spots in Peninsular Malaysia and another five across the South China Sea on Friday.
The hot spot count on that day also showed that Kalimantan recorded 780 hot spots while Sumatra had 66.- THE STAR