Haze may return as wind shifts

Haze may return as wind shifts 

18 August 2005

publishedby www.nst.com.my

PETALING JAYA — Malaysians who have been breathing a sigh of relief over the improved air polluttant index have been warned that this may be temporary.

The wind patterns around the region are expected to have a major shift during the next few days which may blow more smoke from the Indonesian fires towards Malaysia.

Meteorological Services Department director-general Chow Kok Kee said if the number of hot spots in Sumatra and Kalimantan does not decrease, a change in wind direction over the weekend will bring the haze back to parts of the country.

The Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre satellite picked out 11 hot spots in northern Sumatra and 32 in Kalimantan as thick clouds enshrouded the areas.

Sixty hot spots were detected in Peninsular Malaysia, 25 in Sabah (Sandakan, Pedalaman and Kudat) and 14 in Miri, Sarawak.

The air pollutant index nationwide today recorded “good” and “moderate” as rain and winds cleared the air.

In Ipoh, efforts by 40 firemen from six stations from the Tapah district and Gopeng managed to reduce the peat fire which razed at a secondary forest in Besout.

Fire and Rescue coordinating officer (Tapah Zone) Jaffar Sidek Ali said most of the peat fires had been extinguished.

In George Town, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Seri Jamaludin Jarjis said a portion of the RM5 million allocation approved by the Cabinet yesterday to tackle the haze may be utilised to charter more aircraft for cloud-seeding.

He said since Indonesia had given Malaysia the green light to conduct cloud- seeding in Sumatra and Kalimantan, there may be a need to increase the number of planes.

Malaysia is currently using two planes — a civilian and a military aircraft — for cloud seeding.

Cloud-seeding for Indonesia

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia will start cloud-seeding to induce rain in several forest fire-hit areas in Indonesia from Monday.

Department of Environment Director-General Datuk Rosnani Ibarahim said the Meteorological Services Department would undertake the task in collaboration with the Royal Malaysian Air Force.

How long the cloud-seeding will continue would depend on the extent of the bush fires, shesaid.


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