DOE offices on alert as air quality worsens


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 12 Mar 2005

BY FLORENCE A. SAMY

PETALING JAYA: All Department of Environment offices have been ordered to strictly enforce environment laws immediately following the deterioration of air quality around the country in the past 24 hours due to open burning. 

Deputy Environment and Natural Resources Minister Datuk S. Sothinathan said the orders were issued the moment the API reached moderate level in line with a Cabinet decision made two weeks ago when air quality was hovering around the unhealthy level. 

This is the first time the action plan was activated. 

“The bush and forest fires in certain states are the major contributing factors to the haze, but we have also detected several open burnings. 

“We will see how the situation is in a day or two as yesterday was a bit hazy, mostly due to smoke and air moisture because it rained in certain areas,” he said.  

He said DOE officers were monitoring and assessing the situation very closely before deciding on whether to ban open burning. 

The Klang Valley, Perak, Malacca, Johor, Kedah and Terangganu were among 31 locations that recorded moderate air quality levels yesterday. Another 20 locations had healthy air quality. 

Meteorological Services Department reported that visibility levels in Petaling Jaya and Sepang dipped to 7km and 8km respectively yesterday because of the haze while others mostly registered normal levels of above 10km. 

The slight haze was caused by smoke, embers and fires raging across parts of the country.  

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