Unhealthy API readings recorded

Unfavourable conditions: The Kuala Lumpur skyline taken from the SUKE Highway. — AZMAN GHANI/The Star

Hotspots in Kalimantan, Sumatra cause of hazy outlook

PETALING JAYA: Unhealthy air quality was recorded in Kuching, Serian and Sri Aman in Sarawak, and Shah Alam in Selangor, as satellite images detected hotspots in Indonesia’s Kalimantan and Sumatra regions.

As of 5pm yesterday, Sri Aman recorded the highest air pollutant index (API) reading of 154, followed by Serian (150), Kuching (132) and Shah Alam (112).

Samarahan recorded a very high moderate API reading of 99, while Sarikei’s API was 80.

Other parts of Sarawak recorded moderate readings.

An API reading of 0–50 is considered good, 51–100 is moderate, and 101–200 is unhealthy.

The API is calculated over a 24-hour running average of the most dominant parameter.

Scenic no more: The hazy Kuching Waterfront as the city’s API levels reached unhealthy level; (below) the partially visible Penang Bridge covered in haze. — Photos by ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE and K.T. GOH/The StarScenic no more: The hazy Kuching Waterfront as the city’s API levels reached unhealthy level; (below) the partially visible Penang Bridge covered in haze. — Photos by ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE and K.T. GOH/The Star

In the peninsula, the API readings for Nilai in Negri Sembilan, Cheras in Kuala Lumpur, and Putrajaya were unhealthy between Sunday night and yesterday morning before gradually reducing throughout the day.

However, these places and a few other stations continued to have very high moderate readings throughout the day.

As of 5pm, Cheras’ API was 94, Putrajaya 91, Batu Muda 84, Petaling Jaya 83, and Kuala Selangor 80 in the Klang Valley, while Nilai and Seremban in Negri Sembilan were 91 and 82 respectively.

Other places that also recorded very high moderate readings throughout the day included Jerantut in Pahang (85), Bintulu in Sarawak (84), Segamat in Johor (83) and Tanjung Malim in Perak (81).

According to the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC), the latest satellite observations showed moderate to dense smoke haze near hotspots in south Kalimantan.

In addition, it said localised moderate to dense smoke plumes were observed from hotspots detected in west Kalimantan and south Sumatra.

“Under the persistent dry conditions, hotspot and smoke haze activity is likely, particularly over the fire-prone areas in Kalimantan and the southern and central parts of Sumatra.

“Moreover, the risk of transboundary smoke haze occurrence is also expected to heighten in the border areas between west Kalimantan and the western parts of Sarawak.

“The prevailing winds in the region are forecast to blow from the southeast,” ASMC said in its weather outlook yesterday.

The ASMC website also recorded 154 hotspots in Kalimantan on Sunday, compared to three in Sabah and Sarawak.

Over the next few days, ASMC said the prevailing dry conditions over most parts of the southern Asean region are forecast to persist, except for Peninsular Malaysia and the northern parts of Borneo and Sumatra, where isolated showers are expected.

In its sub-seasonal weather outlook between Sept 4 and 17, ASMC said wetter conditions are predicted over parts of mainland South-East Asia, while drier conditions are predicted over much of the southern Asean region, especially the southwestern part.

In line with the predicted drier conditions, warmer temperatures are predicted over much of northern and central mainland South-East Asia.

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