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Peatland News

Title: Air quality does a yo-yo
Date: 04-Aug-2005
Category: Malaysia
Source/Author: The Star - Nation (Malaysia)

PETALING JAYA: The day started brightly but it was a yo-yo as far as air quality was concerned as the haze returned to shroud the Klang Valley and several other areas in the country.

Department of Environment director-general Datuk Rosnani Ibarahim said although the situation improved yesterday morning, the haze returned in the afternoon due to wind conditions.

HAZY AFTERNOON: The air quality at Jalan Sultan Ismail worsened around 2.30pm yesterday.


She said in a statement that eight areas suffered from unhealthy air quality as at 11am. 

They were Port Klang, Petaling Jaya, Kajang, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Nilai, Seremban and Bukit Rambai in Malacca. 

Visibility readings obtained from the Meteorological Services Department website showed good visibility in the morning deteriorating after 1pm but then improving again at several locations in the evening. 

One of the worst areas was Subang where good visibility of above 10km in the early part of the day suddenly plunged to just 800m at 3pm. Visibility improved to 6km in the evening. 

In Petaling Jaya and the KL International Airport, visibility fell to 6km in the afternoon. In the evening, KLIA regained visibility of above 10km while the situation in Petaling Jaya improved only slightly. 

The Meteorological Services Department issued a low visibility warning for the central and southern parts of the Straits of Malacca at 2.20pm, stating that visibility was around 1km. 

“This situation is hazardous to ships without navigational equipment,” it said, adding that the condition was expected to persist today. 

A department spokesman said the clear skies in the morning were only temporary because of rain over the west coast of peninsular Malaysia. 

The haze did not improve because of wind blowing from a south-westerly direction while hotspots in Sumatra were still burning, he said, adding that the situation was expected to persist over the next few days. 

Satellite images showed Sumatra having 68 hotspots and Kalimantan 15. Three hotspots were also detected in peninsular Malaysia and four in Sarawak yesterday.  

In Cyberjaya, the peat fires which caused thick smoke in many areas was expected to be completely put out by tomorrow.  

SMOULDERING PEAT: A fireman helping to douse the peat fire at Cyberpark yesterday.

“However, it will depend on how deep the peat fires had burnt,” said Cyberjaya Fire and Rescue Department Officer Asst Supt Husin Abdullah.

He said 0.4ha of peat land, where the fire was most intense, was put out by 7.30pm yesterday. On Tuesday, fires over 1.2ha of land were extinguished.

“Although there was rain here this morning, it did not help much. We had to channel water from streams to put out the fires,” he said, adding that 51 personnel from seven stations were working hard to douse the flames.

The DOE said aerial monitoring showed that fires were also burning in Puchong near Saujana Putra, Johan Setia in Klang and several illegal landfills in Dengkil and Putra Perdana.

The public can complain about open burning to the DOE hotline at 1-800-88-2727.

Website (URL) http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2005/8/4/nation/11674263&sec=nation

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