Haze Over Riau Clearing But Flights Still Delayed

Haze Over Riau Clearing But Flights Still Delayed

13 May 2011

published by www.thejakartaglobe.com

Indonesia — Environment officials claimed the haze problem in Riau was getting better, although two flights were delayed on Friday morning due to low visibility.

“We have reports from BMKG [Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency] that on Thursday morning, visibility was 500 meters but there were no reports of flight disturbances,” said Arif Yuwono, deputy minister for environmental damage control and climate change.

“Now it’s at least 2 kilometers but there is still smoke because it is affected by the Philippines tropical storm, Aere, which absorbs steam. As a result, it’s making Riau drier than it normally is.”

Taslim, head of Sultan Syarif Kasim II Airport in Pekanbaru, said two commercial flights to Jakarta had to be delayed 30 minutes because visibility dropped drastically below the 1,000-meters minimum needed for air safety.

According to the Pekanbaru BMKG, the visibility dropped to only 150 meters in the morning at around 6:30 a.m. local time.

Meanwhile, a Merpati Airlines MA60 flight serving the Medan-Dumai route was delayed for five hours due to haze hanging over Pinang Kampai Airport, in Dumai, on Friday morning.

The perennial problem that stems mostly from clearing land for plantations has once again blanketed the province with haze and has affected Kuala Lumpur.

Authorities in Kuala Lumpur said on Thursday that air quality had reached 104 in Port Klang, on a scale which rates 101-200 as unhealthy. Elsewhere in central Selangor state, 29 areas had “moderate” readings.

“Our satellite monitoring shows that the fires in Rokan Hilir of Bengkalis district have been on and off since they started on Monday,” Forestry Ministry fire control official Deni Haryanto said.

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