Southern states brace for haze from Sumatra

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia, particularly the southern states of Peninsular Malaysia, is bracing for haze from south Sumatra in the next three days.

Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) director-general Muhammad Helmi Abdullah said there were 119 hotspots in Kalimantan and 121 in Sumatra yesterday, as captured by the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) satellite images.

While Malaysia has no reported hotspots, moderate to dense smoke plumes from persistent hotspot clusters in south Sumatra have been observed.

ALSO READ : Taking no chances with the haze

These are being carried northwest by prevailing winds.

As of 6pm yesterday, 10 locations in Peninsular Malaysia recorded unhealthy air quality.

The hourly Air Pollutant Index (API) of the Environment Department (DOE) listed Nilai and Larkin as the worst hit. Both recorded 155 API readings, followed by Bukit Rambai at 153, Cheras and Port Dickson at 152.

Other areas with unhealthy air quality, between 110 and 114, included Seberang Perai, Banting, Melaka City and Batu Pahat.

Alliance for A Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said transboundary haze had existed for a long time but there had been no amicable and enduring solution to end it.

“Asean nations need to intensify their efforts and expedite finding solutions to the issue,” he said, adding that there was a need for increased vigilance against open burning locally.

Johor health and unity committee chairman Ling Tian Soon advised the public to limit outdoor activities due to the spike in API readings in Larkin and Batu Pahat.

He said that hospitals and health clinics, especially Hospital Sultanah Aminah, were prepared for haze-related illnesses.

Public advisories including reducing outdoor activities, drinking more water and wearing face masks for those with respiratory issues have been issued.

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