Unhealthy air in Johan Setia due to transboundary haze, not open burning, says exco

Selangor Environment, Green Technology, Science, Technology and Innovation and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Hee Loy Sian (right) distributes face masks to the public in Johan Setia, Klang September 13, 2019. — Bernama pic
Selangor Environment, Green Technology, Science, Technology and Innovation and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Hee Loy Sian (right) distributes face masks to the public in Johan Setia, Klang September 13, 2019. — Bernama pic

KLANG, Sept 14 — The very unhealthy air quality recorded in Johan Setia since Thursday was not because of open burning in the area, but due to transboundary haze, said Selangor Environment, Green Technology, Science, Technology and Innovation and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Hee Loy Sian.

He said the reason being that less than five per cent of the 404 hectares of agricultural land in Johan Setia were affected by open burning.

“The agriculture land here (Johan Setia) is the second largest after Cameron Highlands in terms of vegetable cultivation.

“But, open burning here is now under control, with it being carried out in small spots by foreign farmers and it does not contribute to the increase in API reading here,” he told reporters after visiting the agricultural land in Johan Setia here yesterday.

Hee also advised owners of agricultural land in the area to be more responsible by not allowing foreigners to trespass into their land to carry out agricultural activities.

He said the state government, through the Department of Environment (DOE), would work closely with the Immigration Department and the Royal Malaysia Police to monitor the situation.

Hee also advised residents to put on face masks when outdoor to reduce the haze effect on their health and that the state government was distributing 6,000 face masks to the public as a precaution.

According to the DOE’s website, as at 8pm yesterday, the API reading in Johan Setia, Klang was 251, Shah Alam (162), Klang (166), Banting (171), Petaling Jaya (169), and Kuala Selangor (121).

An API reading of zero to 50 indicates good air quality; 51 to 100, moderate; 101 to 200, unhealthy; 201 to 300, very unhealthy and 300 and above, hazardous. ­— Bernama