Air quality drops but remains at acceptable levels

Air quality drops but remains at acceptable levels

18 October 2010

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Malaysia —  The air quality in recent days has worsened but the Department of Environment says there is no cause for concern.

DOE director-general Datuk Rosnani Ibarahim said the air pollutant index (API) was below 100 and averages at 60 throughout the country.

The index had gradually dropped from Oct 13, when a general reading of 37 areas in the country showed 76, to 51 as of 11am yesterday.

The majority of the air quality measurement stations in areas with unhealthy air readings reported that dust content was high.

Healthy air levels are supposed to be below 50.

Batu Pahat and Muar recorded the highest readings of around 90 API yesterday, said Rosnani, adding that the DOE was closely monitoring the situation.

She also said bush fires and open burning have been spotted over Sumatra and her department had been alerted.

In Johor Baru, The Star office reported that Batu Pahat and Muar districts were engulfed by thick haze but the DOE had yet to trace its source.

The office received calls from residents who said they were baffled by the phenomenon.

Jenny Chan, 45, who was travelling home to Batu Pahat from Johor Baru, said the hazy conditions were visible from Parit Raja onwards.

“My brother, who was travelling from Kuala Lumpur, called me to say there were similar hazy conditions between Muar and Batu Pahat,” she said.

Batu Pahat resident S.K. Malini Devi, 23, said that the hazy conditions were prevalent in the morning.

“The haze cleared slightly by the late afternoon,” added the technology media graduate.

Johor DOE director Dr Zulkifli Abdul Rahman said the department was aware of the haze and was investigating its cause.

“We are investigating the cause of the haze but have yet to determine the source of the emissions,” he said.

He said as of 11am on Saturday, the API recorded at the air quality measurement station at Muar showed a level of 68.

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