Haze from Indonesia persists over parts of Malaysia

Haze from Indonesia persists over parts of Malaysia

19 July 2006

published by TODAYonline

Haze has persisted over parts of Malaysia due to smoke from forest fires in
Indonesia but there are hopes of rain to clear the air, an official said.
Parts of the northern resort island of Penang, and Perak, Selangor and
Kedah states were suffering poor visibility from smoke particles being
blown from Indonesia’s Sumatra island by southwesterly winds.

“There are more hotspots in Sumatra. The southwesterly winds are blowing
the burning particles to Malaysia,” an official with the meteorological
services department told AFP. But the official said some rain was expected
later Wednesday which may bring some respite. “Hopefully, it will reduce
the haze,” she said on condition of anonymity.

The Department of Environment failed to release the country’s daily air
quality index at the scheduled time due to what was described as a
technical problem. But among the worst affected areas with visibility at
five kilometres (three miles) or less were Bayan Lepas and Butterworth in
Penang, Sitiawan in Perak and Langkawi in Kedah, the official said.

On Tuesday air quality in parts of Malaysia, including the major shipping
centre of Port Klang west of the capital, plunged to unhealthy levels.
Meteorological authorities said the first haze seen this year, which is
also affecting southern Thailand, could sweep over the Malay peninsula as
it did in 2005. Burning in Indonesia and some parts of Malaysia to clear
land for crops causes an annual haze that afflicts countries in the region,
including Singapore and Thailand.

Last August a state of emergency was declared in Port Klang and another
town on Malaysia’s west coast as pollution soared to extremely hazardous
levels. — AFP


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