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Peatland News

Title: Haze worsens in Sarawak
Date: 04-Oct-2006
Category: Malaysia
Source/Author: The Star (Malaysia)
Description: Parents are keeping their children indoors as the air quality in several towns in Sarawak has worsened



KUCHING: Parents are keeping their children indoors as the air quality in several towns in Sarawak has worsened.

The Department of Environment (DOE) website showed that the air pollutant index (API) in Sarikei rose to 196 at 11am yesterday. It, however, dropped to 177 at 5pm.

Six other towns, one more than on Monday, recorded unhealthy air levels at 5pm.

The state capital had the lowest visibility level at 800m, followed by Bintulu (1km) and Sibu (1.5km) as at 7pm yesterday.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam urged those working outdoors to get free surgical masks from Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) distribution centres.

“Stay indoors and have fewer outdoor activities,” he added.

Schools have also been instructed to control and reduce the number of outdoor activities.

Motorists here have begun wearing masks.

Ishak Omar, who cashed in on the situation by selling face masks at RM1 each in Jalan Astana, Petra Jaya here, said business was brisk.

In Sabah, the haze worsened overnight, with API readings showing a rising trend, and with the east coast district of Tawau experiencing an unhealthy level of 132.

In the peninsula, air quality was between good and moderate levels.

Satellite pictures yesterday showed 305 hotspots in Sumatra and 434 in Borneo.

The Meteorological Services Department said the situation was expected to improve by the middle of this month because of the inter-monsoon season.

It said an increase in tropical storm activities in the Western Pacific near the Philippines

and in the South China Sea had caused the strengthening of winds and a return of drier weather.

“As a result, there was a significant increase in the number of hotspots mainly around the south of Pontianak, Palangkaraya and Banjarmasin in Kalimantan and south of Jambi in Sumatra,” the statement said.

Website (URL) http://www.thestar.com.my

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