PETALING JAYA: Rain in several areas of the country and a change in wind direction towards the south-west have improved hazy conditions and helped raise water levels in several dams.
Amid concerns of a water shortage in the current dry spell, the Selangor Water Management Corporation Bhd (PUAS) has proposed that Selangor closed a dumpsite in Baranang said to be a source of river pollution which has affected the supply of a nearby water treatment plant.
Department of Environment (DOE) deputy director-general (operations) Lee Heng Keng said air quality nationwide has improved, with records showing 17 areas with good air quality and 33 others at moderate levels.
Visibility nationwide had improved and increased to 10km in most areas, he added.
On Friday, 40 hot spots were recorded in Sumatra and 26 in Kalimantan as well as 10 in Sabah and two in Sarawak, he said.
Based on the departments surveillance, the hot spots have reduced since two days earlier.
A two-hour DOE aerial surveillance from 1pm yesterday spotted open burning in Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam in Shah Alam.
According to a DOE officer, the department had asked the Fire and Rescue Department to put out the fire, while DOE investigating officers had been instructed to conduct ground checks.
He said the daily inspection, jointly conducted with the police air unit, would be carried out until the end of the month.
After being shrouded in haze for days, heavy rains improved air quality and returned visibility to normal in Penang.
The downpour also helped to raise the water levels at the Teluk Bahang and Air Itam dams on the island, and the Mengkuang dam on the mainland, according to a Penang Water Supply Corporation official.
The water levels at Sungai Muda and the Muda Dam had also increased, he said, adding that the rain had come at the right time.
A state Meteorological Services Department spokesman said its station in Bayan Lepas recorded rainfall of 82.6mm within a 24-hour period ending 8am yesterday, while the rainfall recorded at its Butterworth station was 80mm.
A state DOE spokesman said air quality had returned to normal in Glugor since Wednesday, and in Seberang Jaya since Friday morning. However, the air quality in Prai was still at a moderate level as of 11am yesterday.
In Malacca, the Durian Tunggal Dam that provides 90% of water to the state is said to have enough water at the moment, with 26.81 billion litres.
Malacca Water Corporation general manager Baharam Mohamed said rain yesterday in the water catchment area would help increase reserves.
In Selangor, over a million residents in Sepang, Hulu Langat and parts of Petaling district will suffer from water shortages from time to time unless a dumpsite, about 6km from Sungai Semenyih, is shut down and factories nearby stop discharging industrial effluents.
PUAS chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Sinon Mudzakir said the company had proposed the state close the Beranang dumpsite as it was the main source of the river pollution.
The situation is becoming critical as raw water is polluted and the water treatment plant had to be closed this year and last, he said in Putrajaya.
In March, the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant, which produces 636 million litres of clean water a day, was forced to suspend operations because of excessive ammonia pollution.