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Haze worsens, 12 areas declared 'unhealthy'
Published:  Sep 3, 2015 12:17 AM
Updated: 12:29 AM

Haze has again shrouded the western peninsular Malaysia, as the air quality in 12 areas has dropped to ‘unhealthy’ levels today, while a regional body warned that the haze could spread further.

This is according to the Department of Environment’s (DOE) website, which reports the air quality in 52 locations nationwide.

Alor Setar is the area reported with the worst air quality in the country, with an air pollutant index (API) of 122 as of 5am today.

The other 11 areas are: Bakar Arang , Sungai Petani (111), Seberang Jaya 2, Perai (107), Perlabuhan Klang (107), Shah Alam (107), Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang (103), Nilai (102), Kampung Air Putih, Taiping (101), SK Jalan Pegoh, Ipoh (101), Banting (101), and Petaling Jaya (101).

The DOE classifies air quality as being good (API less than 50), moderate (51 to 100), unhealthy (101 to 200), very unhealthy (201 to 300), or hazardous (more than 300), based on its API rating.

Over at the Asean Specialised Metrological Centre (ASMC), the regional body as declared the highest alert level of Level 3 for Sumatra in Indonesia yesterday, where the current haze has originated from.

It said that based on satellite surveillance, 349 hotspots have been counted in Sumatra yesterday, compared to 31 in Kalimantan and seven throughout Malaysia.

“In the past week, the prevailing dry weather has led to a further escalation of hotspot activities over Sumatra. Increasing hotspot clusters and widespread moderate to dense smoke haze have been detected in southern and central Sumatra [...]

“In recent days, the smoke haze from Sumatra has spread to some parts of the region including western peninsular Malaysia and affected the air quality there.

“In the coming days, the current dry weather conditions over southern and central Sumatra are expected to persist.

“Under the prevailing southeasterly to southerly wind conditions, transboundary smoke haze could continue to spread to some parts of the region,” it said.

Meanwhile, the DOE reports that 27 areas in Malaysia have ‘moderate’ air quality while 12 areas have ‘good’ air quality.

There is no data available for one area, which is Labuan.

In Sarawak where haze originating from Kalimantan has been reported last week, the air quality in all areas are reported as ‘good’, except for Samarahan (60) and Sri Aman (57), which recorded moderate air quality.

In all 51 areas where data is available, the main air pollutant today is reported to be particulate matter of less than 10 micrometres in diameter (PM10).

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