Malaysians told to stay indoors to avoid forest-fire smoke

Malaysians told to stay indoors to avoidforest-fire smoke

4August 2005

publishedby ABCRadio Australia

Malaysians have been advised to stay indoors after smoke haze cloaked thecapital, Kuala Lumpur, and surrounding areas.

Hospitals are on the alert for health problems.

On Wednesday, the air quality in the Malaysian capital and surrounding areas wasdeclared “unhealthy”.

The haze moved over Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding Klang Valley on Tuesday,covering the Petronas Towers and permeating buildings with the smell of smoke.

The Environment Department says the problem is being caused by hundreds of firesin the Indonesian provinces of Kalimantan, Riau and northern Sumatra, as well asMalaysia’s eastern state of Sarawak.

Peat fires, which started on Monday in Cyberjaya, south of Kuala Lumpur, havealso contributed to the smoky conditions in and around the capital.

However, environmental authorities say the number of fires in Sumatra hasdropped and the smoke is now easing.

Haze caused by fires in Indonesia and Malaysia is a common occurrence duringhot, dry seasons.


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