Air quality worsens in Klang Valley

PETALING JAYA - Port Klang remains the only area in the country with an unhealthy Air Pollutant Index (API) although the air quality has worsened in most parts of the Klang Valley.

The Klang Valley, which recorded moderate air quality readings, showed a gradual increase in its API throughout yesterday in most areas.

As of 5pm yesterday, the API for Banting stood at 84, Cheras (80), Kuala Selangor (76), Petaling Jaya (73) and Batu Muda (73).

The 11am readings were 77, 73, 77, 67 and 65 respectively.

(A good API reading is from 0-50, moderate (51-100), unhealthy (101-200), very unhealthy (201-299) and hazardous (from 300 and above).Port Klang recorded unhealthy air quality readings for the second day in a row but its API has improved from 122 on Monday evening to 109 as of 5pm yesterday.

As of 5pm yesterday, 37 areas recorded moderate air quality readings compared to only 33 as of 5pm on Monday, according to the Department of Environment's (DOE) website.

These included Seberang Jaya 2, Perai in Penang which recorded an API of 82, Nilai (78), SK Jalan Pegoh, Ipoh (75), Bukit Rambai (75), Sungai Petani (75), Alor Setar (74), Taiping (73) and Pasir Gudang, Johor (73).

Several parts of the country such as Butterworth, Petaling Jaya, and Kuantan experienced poor visibility of between 2km and 5km as of 3pm yesterday but registered readings of between 7km and above 10km (normal visibility) by 8pm.

According to the Meteorological Department, most areas in country recorded normal or near normal visibility levels by 8pm except for several areas such as Alor Setar (6km), Batu Embun (8km), Langkawi (7km), and Perai (7km).

According to a regional hazemap, isolated and scattered hotspots continued to be detected in parts of Sumatra and Borneo.

The country is experiencing drier weather due to the southwest monsoon which is expected to end in late September.

DOE in a statement yesterday stated that the cross border haze and worsening air quality in the west coast of the peninsula, especially in Port Klang, was due to the southwest monsoon wind, which was blowing from hotspots in Sumatra.

"We will continue to closely monitor the air quality throughout the country and have activated the National Haze Action Plan and the Open Burning Prevention Action Plan," it said, adding that the open burning ban was still in place.

DOE reminded the public not to carry out open burning and to report such activities to the Fire and Rescue Department at 999 or DOE at 1-800-88-2727.

In George Town, Chong Kah Yuan reports that state Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment chairman Phee Boon Poh said any API reading which has yet to drop below 50 was not at a satisfactory level.

"The combination of haze and heat will easily affect a person's health.

"Precautions should be taken since the air has yet to clear and might still contain suspended particles," he said.

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