200 new haze hotspots in Kalimantan

Barely visible: Motorists braving a thick veil of smog from wildifires caused by open burning at the Tudan Squatter Resettlement Scheme near Miri.

PETALING JAYA: A drastic increase of almost 200 hotspots were detected in Kalimantan, Indonesia, within a span of 24 hours, says Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel.

He said 170 hotspots were detected on Sept 30, but had jumped to 367 on Wednesday.

He added that the hotspots were detected by the Singapore-based Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre via the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“In the same period, 76 hotspots were found in Sumatra although cloud cover may have hampered detection of the actual number of hotspots,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He said the hotspots had resulted in the haze which was detected in the affected areas in Kalimantan.

It was reported that Malaysia and Indonesia are drafting a memorandum of understanding to tackle trans-boundary haze.

The Government had also written to Indonesia to express concerns over the increase in hotspots in south Sumatra and Kalimantan that had led to the haze over peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak.

Palanivel also noted that the Department of Environment (DOE) had detected two hospots in Sarawak and one in Pahang.

“All the hotspots detected will be investigated and appropriate enforcement action taken,” he added.

He said the hot and dry weather, coupled with cross-border haze, is likely to persist until mid-October due to the south-west monsoon season.

However, most areas in the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak are expected to enjoy normal weather conditions throughout the month, he added.

Palanivel said the DOE also recorded 4,751 cases of open burning throughout the country.

From the total, 1,475 cases involved fires in agricultural areas, small open burning (1,054); bush fires (1,033); construction areas (162); forest areas (907); dump sites (86) and industrial areas (34).

As of 7am yesterday, 17 areas recorded healthy Air Pollutant Index (API) readings, while 34 other areas recorded moderate air quality readings.


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