Peninsula likely to be spared from Sabah haze, say experts


PETALING JAYA: Peninsular Malaysia is unlikely to be affected by haze from the open fires in Sabah, says climatologists.

Climate expert Prof Datuk Dr Azizan Abu Samah said the effects of the fires could be carried away by the northeast wind.

“(The haze caused by the fires) will be carried along with local sea and land winds to the south of the source of the fire as forecasted by the Nullschool forecast.

“However, it will not be carried to the peninsula,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Despite that, Azizan said there were visible particulate matter (PM2.5) readings in the Klang Valley, indicating pollution from fine particles.

“We also see high PM2.5 patches in the Klang Valley linked to emissions from industry and traffic,” said Azizan, who is also the National Antarctic Research Centre meteorological expert.

Academy of Sciences Malaysia Fellow Prof Dr Fredolin Tangang also said it is unlikely the fires in Sabah will cause haze in Peninsular Malaysia.

He, however, cautioned that the current hot and dry conditions in the region could cause wildfires.

“If we are not careful with open burning in the peninsula with the current hot and dry conditions in the region, it is highly likely for wildfires to happen,” said Fredolin.

The Environment Department website stated that the air pollutant index (API) reading for Kimanis stood at 92 as of 4pm yesterday.

API readings of between zero and 50 are categorised as good, 51 to 100 (moderate), 101 to 200 (unhealthy), 201 to 300 (very unhealthy), while 300 and above are hazardous.

Kota Kinabalu and its surrounding areas are also seeing air quality improvement with an API reading of 69 as of yesterday evening.

Labuan remained at moderate level with an API reading of 56 while air quality levels in Tawau, Sandakan and Keningau remained good.

Meanwhile, Selangor Fire and Rescue Department assistant director Ahmad Mukhlis Mukhtar was baffled at people still carrying out open burning in spite of being prohibited from doing so.

According to Ahmad Mukhlis, the Fire and Rescue Department is carrying out extensive monitoring given that there is currently a dry spell.

“Yesterday, we detected a fire at a jungle in south Kuala Langat which we managed to bring under control,” he said, adding that it was suspected that the almost 0.8ha of peatland was being cleared for agriculture activities.

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Met Malaysia , Sabah , Weather , Dry , Hot , Bushfires

   

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