Sarawak govt tells national disaster agency time to induce rains over Miri, Sri Aman and Sibu

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 12 — The Department of Environment (DoE) today said that the state government has notified the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) of its intention to induce rains over Miri, Kuala Baram, Sibu, and Sri Aman by way of cloud seeding so to reduce hazy conditions.

DoE said air quality in these towns has been categorised from unhealthy to hazardous over the past few days.

“The air pollutant index (API) readings for Kuala Baram were recorded at 353 as at 5pm while Industrial Training Institute (ILP) Miri was at 302 at 6pm,” DoE said in a statement.

The API readings for Sibu was recorded at 181 and Sri Aman 110, also as at 6pm.

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.

DoE said based on the report by the Singapore-based Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) and the image satellite of the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA), a total of 56 hotspots have been detected in Kalimantan, two in Sumatra, and four in Sarawak (two in Miri and one each in Sibu and Kapit).

DoE advised the public to stop open burning activities which can further worsen the air quality.

Meanwhile, the state Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) said about 313 hectares throughout the state have been ravaged by wildfires since August 1.

Its spokesman said 38 fire cases have been received as at 5pm, bringing the total number to 334 since August 1.

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