KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — The haze situation is expected to improve after weather conditions change end of this month, and the Malaysian government is prepared to help snuff out Indonesia’s fires that resulted in the air pollution, a minister said today.
In her latest updates on the haze situation, Yeo Bee Yin said the fires in Indonesia are the root cause of the haze problem and that such fires need to be urgently extinguished.
“The government is ready to offer any kind of assistance to help Indonesia to put out fires in both Kalimantan and Sumatera,” the minister of energy, science technology, environment and climate change (MESTECC) said in the update on her official Facebook page.
“The government will exhaust all diplomatic channels to raise the urgency to the Indonesian government to act on haze.
“The haze situation is estimated to improve once the monsoon wind direction changes end of September,” she added.
Earlier in the same update, Yeo spoke of efforts that the Malaysian government had already taken to address the annual haze problem, including via a multi-nation meeting and agreement last month.
“The government has, as early as August, raised the trans-boundary haze issue during the 21st Technical Working Group (TWG) and Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC) on Trans-boundary Haze Pollution meeting on August 6 this year.
“The meeting was attended by Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand, where an agreement was reached to monitor and to increase preventive measures to minimise the trans-boundary haze during the current dry spell from August to October,” she said.
“Unfortunately, just after a month, the situation of Indonesian fire didn’t get better but worse,” she added.
As for Yeo’s ministry, she said it is currently working with the Foreign Affairs Ministry to send diplomatic notes to the Indonesian government on the urgency to put out the fires in the latter’s land.
“The ambassador of Malaysia to Indonesia is scheduled to meet Indonesian government on Monday. They’ll also arrange a call after the meeting for MESTECC minister to speak to the counterpart to reiterate the urgency,” she said.
Yeo said the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) is coordinating with her ministry through the Malaysian Meteorological Department and the Air Force, and that they are “all-ready” to carry out cloud-seeding work for temporary relief in areas hard hit by haze as soon as permissible or when there are sufficient clouds.
“However, the fire in Indonesia need to be put out to solve the root of the haze problem, otherwise the haze will come back after rain.
“Hence the URGENCY now is for Indonesia to extinguish the fire,” she said.
She also provided links for those who want to check for real-time air quality monitoring (apims.doe.gov.my), as well as the regional haze situation such as hotspots, wind direction and rain forecast (asmc.asean.org).