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Thursday June 27, 2013
By DERRICK VINESH and KIATISAK CHUA firstname.lastname@example.org
PENANGITES can now breathe better as the air quality has improved after two days of being shrouded in haze.
Despite the cloudy skies, the haze had cleared up and visibility improved with the 65-storey high Komtar building being spotted clearly from the mainland.
After a spell of rain on Tuesday night, the Air Pollution Index (API) as of 11am yesterday, stood at moderate level with visibility being recorded at 8km.
When contacted, state Department of Environment (DOE) director Datuk Hassan Mat said although the haze has vastly improved, there is a possibility that the wind flow could bring it back.
Until then, Hassan advised the public to wear their face masks when they are outdoors and not to do heavy exercises.
Northern states of Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu recorded an improvement in their API readings, falling under the moderate and good air status.
Over on the mainland, a 20 minute-long shower yesterday, which started at about 2.30pm, helped clear the hazy sky a little as the overall visibility range improved compared to the previous day.
Penang Road Safety Department director S. Jegan advised motorists to observe traffic rules at all times, especially when driving during hazy or rainy weather conditions.
“Motorists should also reduce speed, such as travel at 80kmph instead of the usual 110kmph while driving on the highway,” he said in an interview yesterday.
He urged all motorists to keep their vehicle headlights switched
on during the haze in order to be visible to other motorists. Jegan said motorcyclists, who experienced eye irritation while riding in hazy conditions, must lower their vehicle speed and keep their headlights on.
Although the haze has improved here, face masks are still being distributed free as a precaution.
Universiti Sains Malaysia vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Omar Osman who distributed more than 1,000 masks and pamphlets to staff and students at the university yesterday, said the public should stay calm and not let the haze affect their daily lives.
The initiative was carried out by the university’s students together with the USM Respond Team (USMaRT), Pusat Sejahtera USM and USM Safety Department.
Pulau Betong assemblyman Muhamad Farid Saad said students should be taught from young to take care of the environment and that the current haze situation is a good example of the consequences of not protecting the environment.
He distributed 3,000 free masks to 17 schools in Pulau Betong after finding out about the schools’ plight for face masks on his Facebook page.
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