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Haze Update 22 July 2013: The Return of the Haze

After a short hiatus, it appears the haze is back in certain areas in Malaysia. As of this morning, Bukit Rambai in Malacca and Cheras in KL recorded unhealthy air quality. The Air Pollutant Index recorded for Bukit Rambai was measured at 111, while Cheras was measured at 101.

According to reports, a drastic increase in the number of fires in Sumatra is bringing the haze back to the peninsula. Satellite imagery has shown that smoke and ash from the hot spots in Sumatra, Indonesia, are making its way to the west coast of the peninsula.

On Saturday, 20 July 2013, 159 hot spots were recorded in central Sumatra. Only 43 were recorded the previous day. This number is based on data downloaded from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“(The winds) are carrying smoke from the hot spots in central Sumatra, in particular Riau province, to the central region of the west coast of the peninsula,” said a statement from the Department of Environment (DoE).

According to sources within the department, those in Malaysia can expect the bad haze situation they endured at the end of last month to return in the next few days, especially if the number of fires continues to grow.

An API reading of 301 or more; very unhealthy at 201 to 300 is considered hazardous; unhealthy at 101 to 200; moderate at 51 to 100 and good at zero to 50.

“Our advice for the people is to avoid open burning. Although the major contribution to the haze is Indonesia, we do not need our people to aggravate the situation,” said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel.

The minister also said that Malaysia is prepared to seed clouds if the need arises.
“We are also prepared to send our assistance to Indonesia to help them in overcoming the problem.”

API readings for the haze last month was the worst ever with many areas in the country reaching hazardous level.

In and Asean forum organised last week, Indonesia had promised to approve the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, which was brokered in 2002. They’re the only Asean member yet to
approve the treaty.

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Story and Quote from: The New Straits Times

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