Air quality deteriorates over Malaysia

Air quality deteriorates over Malaysia

25 July 2009

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Malaysia —

The air quality in Malaysia largely deteriorated over the course of Saturday.

As of 5pm, only 19 locations in the country registered good air quality while 30 registered moderate air quality, according to theDepartment of Environment’s website

The air quality in Tanjung Malim was found to be unhealthy, recording an Air Pollution Index (API) reading of 113.

52 hotspots were detected in Sumatra while Borneo and peninsula Malaysia recorded 91 and 2 hotspots respectively.

Among the locations which registered moderate air quality are Batu Muda (75), Cheras (70), Putrjaya (67), Kuala Selangor (78), Port Klang (73), Kemaman (70), Jalan Tasek, Ipoh (78), Balok Baru, Kuantan (71) and Pasir Gudang (72).

Air quality is considered good if the API reading is between 0 and 50.

Moderate air quality has an API that ranges between 51 and 100 while an API between 101 and 200 indicates unhealthy air quality.

Meanwhile, Bernama reported from Jambi that the Minister of Environment Rachmat Witoelar said the authorities would not hesitate to arrest the perpetrators of forest and land fires, and sent them to prison following the issuance of a new environment law next September.

Quoting Antara news agency Witoelar reportedly said that the new law, effective from September 8, would give the authority to coordinate with other relevant authorities to arrest those who burn forests and land bushes.

He said his office would directly fix police lines at the areas affected by fires and handcuff the perpetrators, before imposing jail sentences upon them.

In the meantime, haze has begun this week to blanket a number of areas in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Antara said.

Haze and fog blanketed Pekanbaru city after the air over the Riau provincial capital was clear of haze due to heavy rainfall in the small hours of Saturday.

The dense haze and fog had prompted the attention of activists of the Tsu Chi Foundation in Pekanbaru.

They went down into the streets distributing masks to passing motorists. They also distributed the masks in residential complexes like Kuantan Jaya, in Pekanbaru city.

However, the heavy downpour early Saturday could not put out the flames raging in the peat land in Pekanbaru.

Smoke was still seen billowing into the sky of Panam, Rumbai and Kulim. Data of the Meteorology, Geophysics and Climatology Office (BMKG) of Pekanbaru, obtained from the monitoring by the NOAA 18 satellite, show that the forest and land fires were still raging in a number of areas in Riau province.

In Kalimantan, Indonesia is cooperating with Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam to protect Kalimantan (Borneo) through their ‘Heart of Borneo (HOB)’ program.

The ‘Heart of Borneo’ program is a natural resource conservation and sustainable utilization program, Hendrik Segah, HOB Coordinator of Central Kalimantan, said here on Friday.

The HOB program is aimed at protecting the sustainable utilization of one of the world’s remaining best forests in Kalimantan for the welfare of the current and future generations.

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