Air quality in Malaysia worsened so much on Wednesday that open burning is now banned

Malaysian haze worsens so much on Wednesday that open burning is now banned
Twitter/ @sooqmy

In an effort to combat the worsening haze, Malaysia’s Department of Environment (DOE) has banned open burning across the entire country except for cremation, religious purposes, grilling/barbecue and flaring.

Offenders can be fined up to RM500,000 (S$164,991) and be jailed up to 5 years per offence. According to Bernama, the ban was enforced by DOE director-general Norlin Jafaar under the Environment Quality Act 1974, and will last to the end of the current monsoon season. There could also be a maximum compound fine of RM2,000 (S$659) for every offence.

Malay Mail quoted Norlin as saying: “All parties are requested not to conduct open burning, or allow entry or trespass into their property and premises by irresponsible quarters that lead to open burning, either intentional or otherwise.”

Members of the public can contact the DOE at 03-88891972 or 1-800-88-2727, and the Fire and Rescue Department at 999 to report open burning. Norlin also said that people can try to help by extinguishing small fires, Malay Mail reported.

20 areas in “unhealthy” and 1 area in “very unhealthy” range on Wednesday

On social media, netizens posted photos of the unwavering haze across Malaysia.

According to the department’s Air Pollution Index (API), there were 20 areas in the “unhealthy” range and one in the “very unhealthy” range at 3pm on Wednesday (September 10). By 5pm, the number of areas in the “unhealthy” range had fallen slightly to 19.

As of 5pm, Rompin in Pahang – which had an API reading of 228 at noon – still had the highest API recorded at 224, considered “very unhealthy”.

Most of the Klang Valley remained at “unhealthy” levels throughout the day, with the worst air quality in Johan Setia (198). Elsewhere, Nilai, Negri Sembilan had an API of 161. 

The entire Selangor was also suffering from “unhealthy” levels of haze, with Shah Alam (152) being the highest. this was closely followed by Petaling Jaya (150), Klang (145), Banting (138) and Kuala Selangor (137). 

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur’s Cheras and Batu Muda had readings of 147 and 142 respectively.

Over in the south, Johor’s highest reading was 125 in Tangkak.

Even though Sarawak was still bearing the brunt of the haze, its education department has reopened schools after they were closed on Tuesday. 

According to Malay Mail, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the transboundary haze situation in Malaysia had worsened due to a dry spell and monsoonal winds.

Yeo added that the Government will attempt cloud seeding as soon as possible, and urged Jakarta to accept help in battling the blazing fires within its borders, Malay Mail reported.

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