Unhealthy air quality in Sri Aman due to transboundary haze

KUCHING: Unhealthy air quality has been recorded in Sri Aman in Sarawak due to transboundary haze brought by southwest monsoon winds.

The air pollutant index (API) in Sri Aman, about 190km from here, recorded a reading of 153 at 5pm on Friday (Aug 12) after breaching the 100 mark at 1am.

An API reading of 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 moderate, 101-200 unhealthy, 201-300 very unhealthy and 301 onwards hazardous.

The state Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) said the poor air quality in southern Sarawak was caused by haze brought by southwest monsoon winds from hotspots across the border in Kalimantan.

In a statement, it said the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) detected 185 hotspots in Kalimantan on Aug 8, 262 on Aug 9, 73 on Aug 10 and 99 on Aug 11.

Several hotspots were also detected in Sarawak on the same dates.

NREB also said it had activated its haze operations room and stopped issuing open burning permits to maintain air quality.

"All relevant government agencies and the public are advised to be jointly responsible in dealing with the cause and reducing the risk of haze.

"The public is also advised to take some measures when facing periods of hot and dry weather, including drinking enough water, reducing outdoor activities and saving water use," it said.

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