No end to haze until October


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 10 Aug 2005

CAREFREE DESPITE HAZE: These schoolboys at SM La Salle Kuala Lumpur are obviously oblivious tothe poor visibility and acrid smell in the air as they enjoy a game of football at their school.

PETALING JAYA: The haze in certain parts of the peninsula was at its worst yesterday. And the bad news is that the situation will not improve in the coming days.  

According to the Meteorological Department, the dry weather will continue until October. 

Current wind directions are not expected to change until the inter-monsoon season in two months' time. 

The only hope of seeing some haze-free days will be when the fires in Sumatra are put out, according to the department's deputy director-general (forecast) Dr Yap Kok Seng. 

He said some rain could be expected towards the end of this week although the next few days would be dry. 

Visibility in most parts of the Klang Valley dipped to as low as one kilometre. 

The Department of Environment (DOE) has extended the ban on open burning to cover the whole of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya with immediate effect. 

DOE director-general Datuk Rosnani Ibarahim said the ban,however, does not cover cremations, burning of religious offerings and grills or barbeques. 

Indonesia’s Environment Minister Rachmat Wioelar has appealed for help to put out the fires in his country. 

“My ministry welcomes any help from any Asean member country to put out the fires. 

“Officers from my ministry are on the ground in Riau and they have told me that the number of hotspots have increased,” he told The Star

“We have in the meantime engaged local people, local authorities and even plantations to help us fight the fires,” he said. 

Asean Secretariat (Bureau for Resources Development) Environment/ Disaster Management senior officer Adelina Kamal when contacted in Jakarta said if a member country sent a request for assistance, response should be made immediately, preferably within 24 hours. 

Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said school heads have been given the directive to suspend classes. 

“I want the parents to speak to the teachers and school heads.  

“I have already given them the power to decide as I cannot decide for all 320,000 teachers and 10,000 schools,” he said after opening SM Pendidikan Khas Setapak's resource centre. 

“If they decide to close the school and the situation is not critical, they not only have to answer to me but also to the parents who would expect their children to be going to school,” he said. 

National Parent-Teacher Associations Collaborative Council president Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Ali Hassan said schools that suspended classes would certainly have the support of parents as the students' health had to take priority. 

“School heads should not worry too much about this. This is a matter of health,” he added.  

HAZE SNAPSHOTS
  • Haze expected to continue for the nextfew days
  • Wind patterns not expected to changeuntil October
  • Rain expected only in the weekend
  • Visibility in the Klang
  • Valley down to between 150m and 2km
  • Visibility in Straits of Malacca down to 1km
  • Ban on open burning in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya
  • Ports suspend operations as ship runsaground
  • NGOs call for transparency on airpollution index
  • Road users should exercise caution andturn on headlights
  • Related Stories:Firemen on look-out for open burning Time to get serious about the haze Release more info on air pollution, NGOs urge Govt On-the-spot fine for open burning Port operations interrupted due to haze 

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