Sarawak disaster committee monitoring haze in Miri after air quality reaches hazardous level

Firemen battle a wildfire in Pulau Bruit in Mukah August 10, 2019. — Picture courtesy of the Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department
Firemen battle a wildfire in Pulau Bruit in Mukah August 10, 2019. — Picture courtesy of the Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department

KUCHING, Aug 10 — The state disaster management committee said it is monitoring the haze situation in Miri, after the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading reached 390 at the Industrial Training Institute (ILP) Miri station as at 4pm today.

In a statement, it said the API reading at SK Kuala Baram 2 registered at 136 as at 4pm.

It said the hazy conditions at ILP station, which is close to the Brunei border, and SK Kuala Baram 2 were caused by wildfires in Kuala Baram areas.

The committee said the hazy condition in Miri is temporary in nature.

“However, we will continue to monitor the situation over the next 24 hours,” it said.

Samarahan registered an API reading of 100, Sri Aman 93, Kuching 78, Bintulu 76, Mukah 70 and Sibu 73, all as at 4pm.

The committee said other areas with moderate API readings were due mainly to the transboundary haze from Kalimantan.

It said according to the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre in Singapore and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, a total of 93 hotspots were detected in Kalimantan, four in Sumatra and three in Mukah and two in Sibu, yesterday.

It said the haze from Kalimantan and Sumatra was brought to Sarawak by south-westerly winds.

Malaysia’s API has five categories of air quality. Hazardous levels are readings above 300 while 201-300 is considered very unhealthy; 101-200 is unhealthy; 51-100 is moderate and everything below 50 is good.

Meanwhile, state Fire and Rescue Department spokesman said a total of 216 wildfires have been reported since August 1, including 33 today.

He said an area of about 29 hectares in Kuala Baram has so far been destroyed by wildfires since last week.

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