Air quality over Prai worsens

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 20 Jun 2004

PETALING JAYA: The air quality in Seberang Prai reached “unhealthy” levels yesterday and visibility deteriorated to between two and six kilometres, the Department of Environment (DOE) said. 

Other areas in the west coast of the peninsula such as Alor Star, Sungai Petani and northern Perak registered “moderate” levels under the Air Pollution Index.  

DOE director-general Rosnani Ibrahim said in a statement that the situation was caused by cross-boundary pollution from a higher number of hotspots in Sumatra. 

“Malaysia is experiencing the south-west monsoon where winds blowing from Sumatra carry particles from the open burning there over to the peninsula,” she said. 

Rosnani said 261 Sumatran hotspots were detected on Tuesday. 

She added that local sources of pollution contributed to the hazy condition. 

“Stable atmospheric conditions with low velocity winds in some areas resulted in pollutants produced from local sources not being dispersed,” she said. 

She added that Seberang Prai was an industrial area with many local sources of pollution. 

The air quality in Sabah and Sarawak was at “good” and “moderate” levels, Rosnani said. 

She added that the current dry spell was expected to continue for several days. 

“The DOE has stepped up enforcement in the affected areas to control open burning and other sources of pollution,” she said. 

Open burning was under control and no massive burning has been detected for now, she added. 

“The public should help look after air quality by putting out small fires in their residential areas,” she said. 

They can report open burnings by calling the Fire and Rescue Department at 03-8888 0336 and the DOE at 03-8889 1972. 

She said those who were sensitive to changes in air quality, such as those with respiratory problems, the elderly and children, should cut down on outdoor activities. 

A Penang Meteorological Services Department spokesman said visibility on the island improved slightly from four kilometres at 8am to seven kilometres at 4pm. 

Normal visibility is at above 10km. 

A check showed activities in the state were not affected by the haze.  

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