Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — The deterioration of the air quality in several areas in Selangor of late is due to the open burning on agricultural peat soil in Johan Setia in Klang and Sungai Belangkang, Selangor Department of Environment (DOE) director Che Asmah Ibrahim said Wednesday.
She said the burning activities in the two areas had caused the haze in nearby areas like Bandar Puteri, Kota Kemuning, Kota Warisan, Kampung Pandamaran, Kampung Jalan Kebun, Taman Seri Andalas and Taman Botanic.
This was compounded by pollution and open burning in Sumatra, Indonesia, she told a news conference here.
The air quality in Klang and Kuala Selangor had dropped with the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings at unhealthy levels of over 100 over the past two weeks, she said.
However, the API readings at several other areas in Selangor as at 11am Wednesday recorded moderate levels of between 60 and 80.
Port Klang and Kuala Selangor were declared haze emergency areas last August when their API readings touched 500.
Che Asmah said the Selangor DOE would act firmly including taking those involved in open burning to court.
Action would also be taken against owners of land where open burning was carried out.
“I would like to remind land owners to monitor this development because our laws allow legal action to be taken against them if their lands are involved in open burning,” she said.
Offenders could be fined between RM2,000 and RM500,000 or jailed five years, or both, she said, adding that 63 compounds had been issued for open burning-related offences in the state so far.
She said two operation rooms had been opened in Kampung Johan Setia Rela office and Ulu Chuchoh Agrotech Office in Sepang to facilitate the integrated operations launched Wednesday among the local authorities, police, fire and rescue and Rela to further curb open burning.