Haze set to worsen

01 Aug 2019 / 19:59 H.

PETALING JAYA: The Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry has warned that the haze could get worse with forest fires reported in several areas of Indonesia.

“The southwest monsoon and the drought will contribute to bringing the haze back to the country and this is expected continue until mid-September based on the study by Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC),“ the ministry said in a statement.

On Wednesday, six provinces in Sumatra and Kalimantan on Borneo were engulfed in forest fires.

The statement by the Department of Environment (DoE) warned against opening burning following an “unhealthy” API reading of 104 recorded at Johan Setia in Klang.

DoE detected five areas of open burning in the country resulting in the department opening investigation papers for necessary action to be taken.

The statement said that 64 areas recorded as “moderate” under the air pollution index (API) which measure air quality based on the concentration of air pollutants.

The API readings were in Nilai, Negri Sembilan (89), Cheras and Putrajaya (85) and Temerloh, Pahang (79).

Medical officer, Dr Wan Nur Sabrina Wan Manshol said the haze could lead to infectious diseases.

She advised the public to stay indoor as much as possible, drink plenty of water and wear masks to cover mouth and nose when outdoors.

“High risk people are those with lung diseases as they are more prone to aggravating their illness. The vulnerable groups are the elderly and children whose immunity is lower compared to other age groups,“ she told theSun.

DOE warned Malaysians to avoid burning activities and those who fail to comply will be slapped with fines of not more than RM500,000 or up to five years of imprisonment or both under section 29(A) Environmental Quality Act 1974.

The public has been urged to report open burning activities to the Fire and Rescue Services Department at 999 and the Department of Environment (DoE) at toll-free, 1-800-88-2727.

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