Kuching, Malaysia — Heavy rain – some of it induced by cloud seeding – is continuing to clear the thick haze over Sarawak.
The Air Pollutant Index (API) readings have moderated in all major towns where the forecast is for more rain in the coming weeks.
According to the Department of Environment’s website, Limbang recorded the lowest API of 31 at 11am yesterday, followed by Miri (40) and Kapit (49).
Elsewhere, the API reading in Kuching has been reduced to 72 from 88 on Saturday while the readings in Sri Aman (67), Petra Jaya (66), Sibu (62), Bintulu and Samarahan (58) and Sarikei (58) have also improved.
An API reading of 50 and below means the air quality is good, 51-100 moderate and above 100 unhealthy.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan, who accompanied the first cloud seeding sortie on Saturday, said the Royal Malaysian Air Force Hercules aircraft would continue the operation daily until the end of the month.
The Labuan-based aircraft will focus on inducing rain over water catchments along the Sarawak River’s tributaries as well as the peat soil fires in Gedong, Samarahan division, which had affected 500 hectares of oil palms.
Dr Chan said firemen were finding it difficult to put out the fires due to the lack of water.
Cloud seeding will also be carried out in Miri, which is experiencing drought, and towns in the Sibu and Sarikei divisions where some catchment areas were contaminated by salt water because of the dry spell.
River transport on Rajang River, an essential means of moving people and supplies in the remote areas of central Sarawak, is also being hit because the lack of rain has reduced water level in the upper reaches of the country’s longest river.