Toxic mix of haze and other gases

Toxic mix of haze and other gases 

18 August 2005


A Malaysian expert has warned that haze might be dangerous if the particulates from open burning mix with smoke from industry and cars that contains lead and gases like carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.

This was stated by Hjh Noor Zaitun Hj Yahaya, a lecturer from Science Engineering Department of Science and Technology University College, Malaysia in an interview with RTB highlighting “Haze and its effect on health & awareness”.

She is an expert on air pollution quality and control and monitoring as well as an advisor to a company dealing in environmental and civil engineering laboratory equipment in Malaysia.

Quoting Datuk Hjh Rosnani, Director-General of the Environment Department, Malaysia, she said the haze comes from smoke created by open burning activities in Sumatra which is blown by the wind to the country. Haze could also be produced from motorcars and industrial plants.

In general, haze could have a negative consequence for the public especially those categorised as high risk such as children, the elderly, those suffering from asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, chronic lung disease, heart ailments and allergy; smokers and those working outdoor and fishermen at sea.

The effects of exposure include itchiness in the throat, coughing, breathing difficulty, watery eyes and nose, frequent sneezing, itchy body and chest pain.

Methods of prevention include seeking treatment, taking medication for those categorised as high risk and using face masks for those working outdoor.

Meanwhile smokers who have children and elderly relatives are advised not to smoke inside a house, reduce outdoor activities, drink a lot of water, frequently wash their face and skin and to always update oneself on the pollutant standard index.


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