PETALING JAYA: The question of whether the haze is back in town or not can only be answered in the next 24 hours.
Department of Environment director-general Datuk Rosnani Ibarahim said that at this point in time, it would be premature to say the haze has returned.
Visibility in the city was poor but the Air Pollutant Index showed moderate readings throughout the country.
We are monitoring the situation by the hour and can only confirm if the haze is back within the next 24 hours, she told The Star last night.
City dwellers were alarmed by the sharp drop in visibility in the KL city centre yesterday afternoon prior to isolated heavy showers in most parts of the Klang Valley.
The wind is not blowing from Sumatra towards us. It is presently south, south-westerly and south, south-easterly. As such it is difficult for us to be sure, Rosnani said.
The API at 11am and 5pm yesterday showed that 35 stations recorded moderate levels (readings of 51-100) and 16 had good air quality (0-50).
At 5pm the highest API reading was recorded in Seremban (83), followed by Bukit Rambai in Malacca (77) and Nilai in Negri Sembilan (76).
There was a marginal increase in the API readings in the Klang Valley at 5pm yesterday compared with readings at the same time on Tuesday
In Petaling Jaya the API reading yesterday was 74 compared with 65 on Tuesday, Kuala Lumpur (62, 57); Kajang (67, 51); Shah Alam (70, 60); and Putrajaya (72, 65).
Meanwhile, Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn said yesterday the Department of Occupational Safety and Health would set up an operations centre to advise field workers on how to protect themselves if the haze worsened.
Both employers and workers can refer to the operations centre on what to do if they are required to work outdoors, he said.