GEORGE TOWN: All bicycle commuters and recreational cyclists in Penang are advised to stop cycling until the haze blows away.
“Don’t ride for now. When you are pedalling, you are breathing fast and the mucous lining in your throat and nose will not be able to help catch the smoke particles,” said G Club Penang Cyclists chairman Datuk Dr Lim Seh Guan.
Dr Lim, a ear, nose and throat surgeon, said the club had told its network of about 10,000 cyclists to call off all rides.
“If we exert ourselves and breathe fast, the particles will enter our lungs.
“I cannot envision when the particles will be able to come out after that and I am worried about possible carcinogenic elements in the particles too.
“I urge everyone to avoid any strenuous physical activity and wear good quality masks,” he said.
At 3am yesterday, the air pollutant index (API) in Penang hit 236 at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), up from 104 on Tuesday. By 10am, the reading at the USM monitoring station had risen to 248.
On the mainland at 10am yesterday, the monitoring station in Seberang Jaya clocked a reading of 287 and at Prai, the reading was 197.
A reading of 201 to 300 is considered very unhealthy.
USM cancelled all its activities including lectures and exams in Gelugor and its branch campuses in Bertam and Nibong Tebal starting yesterday.
This order extends to outsiders who have events planned within these campuses, said USM registrar Siti Zubaidah A. Hamid in a statement yesterday morning.
Indoor activities such as lectures, exams and laboratory work are postponed until further notice.
This weekend’s 25th USM Inter-national Netball Festival is also postponed.
Meanwhile, a check with a local pharmacy showed that the retail prices of face masks remained the same even though suppliers had increased wholesale prices by RM1 to RM1.50.
A pharmacist who wished to be known only as Lee said three-ply surgical masks at four pieces per pack were still selling at RM2.