Malaysia–– KLANG: Two fires that started at Johan Setia over the week have been extinguished but are still smokey, state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong told Selangor Times yesterday.
The first fire started at Jalan 6 last Saturday while the second began burning and spread to 10 acres of forest around Batu 7, Jalan Klang-Banting on Tuesday.
Wong, who is in charge of environmental affairs in Selangor, said both fires have been put out and authorities are monitoring the peat forest vulnerable to fires round-the-clock.
The smog from Johan Setia, coupled with the annual haze from Sumatera, have been a health hazard to residents at Kampung Johan Setia and Bandar Puteri.
Bandar Puteri resident Elaine Tam suspects that her cough, which has yet to heal after three weeks, is a direct result of the haze.
We try to seal our windows and doors, source for air purifiers to keep (our) indoor air free from the acid burning smell every night, but we cant eliminate it totally and need to live with it throughout the night, she wrote to the paper on Tuesday to voice her concerns.
Tam added that she has called the local council and Department of Environment to lodge complaints several times.
I really hope the state and responsible departments can look into this seriously, said the frustrated resident.
Klang Municipal Council (MPK) acting president Ikhsan Mukri had announced on Tuesday that it is setting up an action committee involving various relevant agencies to find long-term solutions to the problem.
He said firefighters and the councils enforcement officers have had to resort to using rattan canes to put out the peat fires in Johan Setia during dry seasons.
The method is not very effective and Ikhsan plans to propose to the joint action committee, which should meet by next week, to develop a drainage system to channel water through the secondary peat forest during dry spells.
Meanwhile, Wong also clarified that the source of burning odour and haze in Bukit Tinggi, Bandar Botanik and Taman Sentosa are not from Johan Setia but Sumatera.
The wind direction does not spread to Bukit Tinggi and beyond, she said in a phone interview earlier on Tuesday.
The Bukit Lanjan assemblyperson said the 130 hotspots reported in Sumatera last week is the main source of the haze that has returned to shroud the Klang Valley.
The Air Pollutant Index (API) in Port Klang had breached the 100 mark to reach unhealthy levels at 122 on Monday, declined slightly to 116 on Tuesday, 101 on Wednesday and finally slide back to moderate level (80) yesterday.
But the API in Petaling Jaya, Shah Alam, Banting and Kuala Selangor has hovered between the moderate level of 51 to 99, with only Kuala Selangor exceeding the 100 mark on Wednesday (102).