Kuching and Cheras worst affected by poor visibility and air quality

Kuching and Cheras worst affected by poor visibility and air quality

08 March 2010

published by thestar.com.my

Malaysia —   Thirty-four towns in the country were affected by the hazy weather, according to the Meteorological Department.

As at 7pm yesterday, the department’s website www.met.gov.my stated that Kuching had the lowest visibility reading at 4km, followed by Kuantan (6km), Petaling Jaya and Prai (8km), Subang (9km), while other towns were recorded at more than 10km.

The Department of Environment’s Air Pollutant Index (API) showed that Cheras had an unhealthy air quality reading of 104 while Sandakan had the lowest API at 22.

The top five areas with moderate reading of air quality were Seremban (82), Pasir Gudang (79), Batu Muda (72), Country Heights (69) and Balok Baru (68).

Meanwhile, Bernama reported that Fomca has called on the Government to step up efforts to combat haze, saying the phenomenon was becoming a permanent feature in the country.

“In the past, we only had haze when there was extensive burning of forests in a neighbouring country, but now it is a daily occurrence due to the climatic changes and indiscriminate open burning,” said its president Datuk N. Marimuthu.

He said the Government should identify the usual hot spots, especially areas of local peat fires, and set up a well-trained air and land fire-fighting unit.

Peat fires should be controlled by using a soaking system where the peat soil was soaked in water rather than water sprayed over it.

Marimuthu said statistics showed that almost five million hectares in Indonesia and Malaysia had been destroyed due to such fires since 1997 and that more land would be burnt up if no measures were taken to control the fires.

He said the local government authorities should be empowered to take preventive steps, particularly in controlling open burning of solid and garden wastes by the people.

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