Straits Times Indonesia
Shah Alam. Air quality in parts of Malaysia was near unhealthy levels yesterday as south-westerly winds carried haze from Sumatra to the neighboring countries, according to the Malaysian environment agency.
The Department of Environment (DOE) website indicated that the Air Pollutant Index (API) in Seberang Jaya in Penang had reached 98 yesterday.
The API for unhealthy air quality is between 101 and 200 while a reading above 301 is hazardous.
Singapore’s air quality has not been affected by the fires in Sumatra so far, Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) told The Straits Times yesterday.
This is because the prevailing south-easterly winds are not blowing the smoke haze from the fires in Sumatra to Singapore.
But it warned that a possible change in wind direction to south-westerly over the weekend may bring some slight haze towards Singapore if the fires in central Sumatra persist.
The 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index reading at 4pm yesterday was 39, which was within the good range.
Responding to queries from The Straits Times, the NEA said showers over parts of Sumatra in western Indonesia have helped reduce the number of hot spots from 191 on Wednesday to 70 yesterday.
Over in Malaysia, the API reading in Port Klang in the Selangor state hit 92 yesterday.
A DOE spokesman there said that the haze was caused by a combination of factors including the open burning of rubbish, south-westerly winds carrying smoke from hot spots in Sumatra and the current hot weather, The Star reported.
On Wednesday, the Indonesian MetroTV reported that an airport in Riau province in Sumatra was blanketed by haze and the authorities might close it if the haze worsened.
Reprinted courtesy of Straits Times Indonesia. To subscribe to Straits Times Indonesia and/or the Jakarta Globe call 021 2553 5055.