Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Haze levels improves in KL but Perak API rising

Changing winds have caused the air pollutant index (API) levels to drop in the Klang Valley as Seri Manjung in Perak bears the brunt of the smoke from Sumatra, Indonesia.

Seri Manjung now has an unhealthy API reading of 118, the highest in the country.

However, the API as at 8am recorded several spots with readings close to 100, an unhealthy reading.

Residents in Port Klang (91), Kuala Selangor (86), Shah Alam (85), Ipoh (91), Tanjung Malim (86), Kuala Terengganu (87) and Bukit Rambai (94) will have to endure the haze as dry weather conditions are expected to last a few more days.

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Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur’s API readings have dipped slightly at Cheras (82) and Batu Muda (80). Folks in Petaling Jaya are expected to see better air quality with the API at 79 although visibility is only 6km.

API levels of between zero to 50 are rated good, 51 to 100 moderate, 101 to 200 unhealthy, 201 to 300 very unhealthy and above 300 hazardous.

The number of hotspots in Sumatra has increased to 292, with 185 of them located in the Riau province. The shift in the wind direction to the northern and eastern states of Malaysia is affecting visibility in Penang, Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang.

Malaysians can hope for a respite from the smoke with sporadic showers forecasted at several parts of the Klang Valley, Perak, Kelantan and Pahang.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department had predicted that the haze may recur throughout the dry season that typically lasts from May to September.

The department’s central forecasting director, Muhammad Helmi Abdullah had told The Star and Astro Awani that the period of hazy conditions depends entirely on the number of hotspots found in Sumatra.

Meanwhile the Singapore Straits Times today reported that the Indonesian government is taking charge of efforts to put out fires in Riau.

Quoting a senior official, the daily reported that the central government will also reopen a command post in Pekanbaru today.

"The national government is stepping in,” said Willem Rampangilei, Deputy Minister for Environment and Social Vulnerability at the Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare, reported the daily.

He added that soldiers and policemen based in the province will also be redeployed to help fight fires.

Willem spoke to the Singapore daily after an inter-agency meeting on Tuesday morning to discuss ways to tackle the return of fires and haze over parts of Riau and neighbouring Malaysia after a lull of about two weeks. - July 24, 2013.

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