KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 — Air pollution in the peninsula has increased this week, with major sites in several states reaching unhealthy levels officially.
The Air Pollution Index as of 12pm indicated that the worst so far was Rompin, Pahang, which recorded a reading of 194 that is close to “very unhealthy”.
Nearby, the state capital of Kuantan is only experiencing “moderate” pollution, ranging from 73 to 74.
The index's categories are as follows: good is rated 0 to 50, moderate is 51 to 100, unhealthy is 101 to 200, very unhealthy is 201 to 300, and hazardous is 301 and upwards.
Kuala Lumpur recorded a reading of 157, while Petaling Jaya is moderate at 140, Shah Alam at 130, and Klang at 118. Seremban in Negri Sembilan recorded a level of 118.
Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shaari took to Twitter this morning to urge the state’s residents to avoid the outdoors.
Elsewhere, Ipoh, Perak is at a moderate level of 82, while Kota Baru in Kelantan is 58. Alor Setar in Kedah and Kangar in Perlis recorded levels of 59 and 71 respectively, with Kuala Terengganu and Penang island at 81, and between 62 to 64 respectively.
In Johor, the state capital Johor Baru recorded air pollution of 94. The state government has since categorised the northern district of Tangkak as having unhealthy air quality, with a reading of 111 as of 11.15am.
Johor Local Government, Urban Wellbeing and Environment Committee chairman Tan Chen Choon said due to the unhealthy air quality in Tangkak, all schools and in the district are advised to keep up-to-date with the students, especially for the ongoing UPSR examination.
He also advised those residing there to take precautions such as wearing a face mask when being outdoors to avoid respiratory problems and to drink enough water to keep their bodies hydrated in such circumstances.
“All parties are prohibited from conducting any open burning as action will be taken by the relevant agencies.
“I also request public cooperation to provide information regarding any fire or open burning to the Tangkak district council and the Fire and Rescue Department immediately or via the 999 number,” said Tan in a statement today.
It was reported that the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) has warned that haze will continue to affect western parts of Peninsular Malaysia and western Sarawak, as hotspots are expected to persist in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia.
Despite Indonesia’s denial over the weekend, data provided by ASMC on its website showed that hotspots in Sumatra have increased to 206 on September 8, compared to 52 on September 7.