Environment Dept: Lower API readings at monitoring stations

A red sun is seen through the haze in Sri Aman September 18, 2019. — Bernama pic
A red sun is seen through the haze in Sri Aman September 18, 2019. — Bernama pic

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 24 — The Air Pollutant Index (API) readings at the Department of Environment’s (DoE) air quality monitoring stations have dropped and the situation in haze-affected areas has improved since 11am today compared to yesterday.

In a statement today, the DoE said forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia were still causing smog to drift across borders and affect API readings in peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and the western part of Sabah.

However, forecasts from the Meteorological Department of Malaysia stated that the transitional monsoon phase would begin today and this would somewhat reduce haze in the country, it said.

DoE said that today 15 stations recorded unhealthy API readings, including at Johan Setia, Klang which recorded very unhealthy API levels on Sept 22.

DoE said a meeting to coordinate action against opening burning in Johan Setia was held today to intensify enforcement and to seek help from other agencies like the police to arrest the culprits.

Based on the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) report on September 23, satellite images of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 20 showed that the number of hotspots in Sumatra, Indonesia had dropped from 262 to 65, while the number of hotspots detected in Kalimantan, Indonesia increased from 487 to 1,025.

The report also said 18 hotspots were detected in Malaysia — 11 in Sarawak and seven in Sabah.

Based on the Regional Haze Map issued by ASMC on September 23, dry weather was continuing in the southern region of Asean except for certain countries which experienced rain in several places.

The DoE said smog with moderate to thick intensity from central Sumatra and Sumatra was persisting especially in Riau district, Jambi and south Sumatra.

“This smog from Sumatra does not affect the west coast of the peninsula because of the influence of easterly winds,” the DoE said.

In Kalimantan, hotspots in west, central and south Kalimantan were continuing to affect the surrounding areas, it said.

“Transboundary haze was also found to have headed towards the South China Sea and western Sarawak,” it added. — Bernama

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