Source: Borneo Bulletin, May 22, 2003 KUALA LUMPUR (dpa)
Thick haze has returned to shroud Malaysian skies in a yearly occurrence brought on by dry weather as well as increased fires in the Indonesian island of Sumatra, environmental officers said Wednesday. The Department of Environment reported that satellite images on Tuesday detected 49 hot spots – areas showing high levels of heat caused by burning – in Sumatra, which were believed to be forest fires. “The air problem we are facing now is caused by the burnings in Sumatra, but the dry spell is not helping as well,” the department spokesman said. She said a total of 34 air quality stations, mostly located in the central Klang valley and the country’s west coast nearing Sumatra, reportedly had moderate Air Pollutant Index (API) readings, while 16 others were classified as good. “There is an undeniable deterioration in air quality in those areas. It’s still under control, but we want to alert the public to take precautions and refrain from carrying out any open burnings which would worsen the problem,” she said.