Malaysia — Two areas in Malacca state, south Peninsula Malaysia – Bukit Rambai and Malacca town – were hit with high recordings of unhealthy Air Pollution Index (API) readings on Sunday.
Bukit Rambai recorded an API reading of 114, while the reading for Malacca city rose from 70 to 88 between midnight and 3pm, reducing visibility to the extent of slowing down traffic.
Malaysian Department of Environment (DOE) director-general Halimah Hassan said the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) detected three hotspots in Sumatra on Thursday, which spiked to 43 on Friday and 159 on Saturday.
“The DOE is monitoring the situation closely and is looking out for any open burning,” she said.
The ASMC had detected four hotspots in Johor as of early Saturday morning.
Wind blowing pollution north
The Meteorological Department central forecasting office director Muhammad Helmi Abdullah said haze particles would be carried across to Peninsular Malaysia as the wind was still blowing from the south-west.
“The number of hotspots is also very important. If it increases, then even a light wind will carry the haze particles across,” he said.
Fortunately, he added, the current wind strength was weaker than several weeks ago when severe haze shrouded parts of the Malaysian peninsula and Singapore, causing respiratory problems for residents.
Muhammad Helmi said drier weather was expected in the coming weeks, which could lead to the haze affecting the region again.
“If conditions worsen, we will look at the possibility of conducting cloud seeding again,” he said, adding, however, that cloud seeding operations would not be successful if the weather was very dry.