Malaysia is battling the haze again – and KL’s pollutant readings have already climbed to unhealthy levels

Photos posted by Sweden’s ambassador to Malaysia, Dag Juhlin-Dannfelt, showed Kuala Lumpur covered in haze on September 9, 2019.
Twitter/ @DDannfelt

Kuala Lumpur woke up to a not-so-sunny morning on Tuesday (September 10). 

The air in parts of the country was heavily polluted and readings in most of Kuala Lumpur reached the “unhealthy” range (101 to 200) by 11am, according to the Department of Environment’s Air Pollutant Index (API).

Across the entire nation, the highest readings were registered at Rompin, Pahang (194) and Sri Aman, Sarawak (192). According to the API, readings from 201 to 300 are considered “very unhealthy”.  

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s biggest city with a population of 7.2 million, recorded an API of 157, making visibility a problem. This is also believed to be the highest API reading in the city since the last haze crisis in 2015, the New Straits Times (NST) reported.

Several Twitter users, including Sweden’s ambassador to Malaysia, Dag Juhlin-Dannfelt, posted photos of the Malaysian capital shrouded in haze on Monday and Tuesday.

Other areas which recorded “unhealthy” level API readings include Nilai, Negri Sembilan (145); Tangkak, Johor (111); Putrajaya (139); and Selangor (140).

Kuching, Sarawak, which  suffered from a 241 reading on Monday afternoon, managed to catch a break as it’s API fell to 144 by 11am on Tuesday. Not all of Sarawak was shrouded in haze though – API readings for places like Limbang and Sarikei were recorded at 53 and 79 respectively. 

API readings between 0 and 50 are categorised as “good” and “moderate” when between 51 and 100. Readings above 300 are considered “hazardous”. 

Over in the southern part of the peninsula, Johor’s air quality remained in the moderate range, as did neighbouring country Singapore’s. 

Singapore’s air still moderate – for now

However, hazy conditions are expected to hit the island nation if hotspots continue to persist. 

According to the Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA), the weather in Sumatra has been dry lately and a total of 380 hotspots were detected on Monday,  mostly in central and southern Sumatra.

Prevailing south-easterly winds could bring slightly hazy conditions to the Republic if the hotspot situation in Sumatra persists, NEA said. 

The ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) – a regional collaboration programme among the National Meteorological Services (NMSs) of ASEAN member countries – said on Monday via its website that the build-up of moderate-to-dense haze is due to the further escalation of hotspot activities in Sumatra, particularly, Riau and Jambi.

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