Malaysia KUALA LUMPUR The haze in Malaysia worsened on Wednesday (Aug 17), with some areas crossing into the unhealthy range on the Air Pollutant Index (API) for the first time this dry season.
Tanjung Malim in Perak registered a reading of 110 on the API as of 5pm but as of 7pm, the air quality showed a slight improvement as it recorded a reading of 89 on the API.
The air pollution has been attributed to dry weather conditions along with the south-westerly winds that are blowing in the region and open burning in the neighbouring country of Indonesia.
According to the nations Department of Environment, an API reading of between zero and 50 indicates good air quality; between 51 and 100, moderate; between 101 and 200, unhealthy; between 201 and 300, very unhealthy; and more than 301, hazardous.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Madius Tangau said on Wednesday that the occurrence is prevalent especially over the central part of the peninsula, including the Klang Valley.
He was quoted by The Star as saying that Malaysia is currently experiencing the south-west monsoon that began in the third week of May and is expected to last until mid-September.
Mr Tangau said the weather would be dry and Malaysia would see less rainfall as compared to the other seasons during the south-west monsoon.
Transboundary haze from Indonesia is expected to occur during dry weather conditions, and this will be compounded by local burning activities. However, the country could expect isolated afternoon rain until the end of this week.
The south-westerly wind is expected to persist until the end of the week. As such, should the transboundary haze persist or local burning activities occur, hazy weather conditions could be expected in our country, Mr Tangau told the news agency.
As of 9am Wednesday, several areas in Selangor registered moderate readings, with the highest reading of 89 recorded in Port Klang, followed by areas such as Shah Alam (85), Banting (80), Kuala Selangor (78) and Petaling Jaya (74).
Malaysias administrative capital Putrajaya saw a reading of 77, followed by Pahangs Indera Mahkota with 75; Batu Muda, Cheras and Nilai at 71 and Kuching at 70.
As of 5pm Wednesday, 31 areas in the country registered a moderate reading, with Port Klang recording a reading of 84 followed by Kuala Selangor (81); Shah Alam (80); Banting (73) and Kuching (71).
The transboundary haze caused by widespread fires in Indonesia which blanketed the region from September to November last year was one of the worst in recent history, affecting tens of millions of people.
Last year, Singapores National Environment Agency sent notices to six companies directing them to put out fires allegedly contributing to the haze.
It was reported on Monday that changing winds would see air pollution from fires in Indonesia hit Malaysia next week. The annual crisis for Malaysia including Singapore has pushed countries in the region to agree on a roadmap on regulating transboundary haze pollution which was finalised last week.
Malaysias Natural Resources and Environment Minister Mr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said last week that Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) member states have agreed on a roadmap to ensure the region is free from transboundary haze by 2020, as part of a series of joint actions to combat the annual problem. AGENCIES