PETALING JAYA: The haze is here to stay, at least for a while longer, due to dry weather made worse by monsoon winds blowing dust and smoke from Sumatra.
Department of Environment (DOE) director-general Datuk Rosnani Ibarahim, who broke the bad news yesterday, said pollutants being blown across from burning hotspots in Sumatra have caused air quality to deteriorate since Saturday afternoon.
“As many as eight areas have been identified as having unhealthy air quality, while many areas in the country have maintained moderate air quality. Twelve areas still have good air quality,” she added in a statement.
The eight affected areas are Port Klang, Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur, Kajang, Putrajaya, Shah Alam, Nilai and Seremban. “The slow dissipation of the haze and smoke particles due to slow air movement is causing the haze to persist,” said Rosnani.
Rosnani said the Meteorological Services Department had reported that the dry weather and limited rainfall also did not help.
DOE officers working with the police air wing detected three burning spots yesterday, she added.
“The areas are peat land near the Raja Muda Musa Forest Reserve and palm oil plantations at Kampung Panchang Pedena and Tanjung Karang, Selangor.
“The Fire and Rescue Department is trying to put out the fires,” she added.
Visibility in Subang Jaya, Batu Embun and Kuala Terengganu was reduced to 4km at 7pm yesterday, while Sepang and Ipoh recorded visibility levels of between 6km and 7km.
Rosnani advised those who were sensitive to air quality changes to reduce their outdoor activities.
In Kuala Lumpur, the haze continued to blur out many landmarks such as the KL Tower. Many people were also seen wearing masks when out on the streets.
Checks with clinics also revealed that there had been an increase in patients, both adult and children, complaining of flu, cough, asthma, running nose and sore throat.