Forest fires cause Sri Aman API to hit hazardous level

by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA

The forest fires at Kampung STC Sri Aman Village, Jalan Tisak Betong and Jalan Ketajau as well as the transboundary haze have contributed to air quality in Sri Aman, Sarawak reaching hazardous level.

The Department of Environment (DOE) in a statement today said the fires also caused the Air Pollutant Index readings in the area to exceed 300 from 3am on Sept 17 until 2am on Sept 18.

“Firefighting teams are in the midst of battling the blaze in the areas,” it said.

Sri Aman API reading at at 11am today was 417.

According to the DOE the forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia were still causing the transboundary haze and had contributed to the rise in API readings in areas along the west coast and south of Peninsular Malaysia, western Sarawak as well as around Tawau and Sandakan, Sabah.

According to an ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) report yesterday, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA-20) satellite images detected 209 hotspots in Sumatra, 544 in Kalimantan, one in Brunei and six in Malaysia namely two in Sarawak, Sabah (two), Terengganu (one) and Johor (one).

Meanwhile the Regional Hazard Map released by ASMC showed generally dry conditions in the southern ASEAN region, with hotspots in Riau, Jambi and South Sumatra continuing to produce moderate to thick haze and impacting the western, southern and central coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

Moderate to thick haze were also found to persist from hot spots in the southern, eastern, western and central parts of Kalimantan.

“The winds have blown some of the haze towards the north thus affecting the southern part of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak and increasing the API readings in these areas to unhealthy and very unhealthy levels,” the statement added.

As at 11am today, three stations in Sarawak reported very unhealthy API readings, namely 244 in Kuching, Sarikei (225) and Samarahan (218).

Nineteen stations recorded unhealthy air quality among them Sibu, Sarawak (191), Batu Muda (160) and Cheras, Kuala Lumpur (149), Johan Setia, Klang, (153), Mukah, Sarawak (147), Tasek Ipoh, (144), Petaling Jaya (143), Putrajaya (133) and Shah Alam (133).

An API between zero and 50 indicates good air quality; 51 and 100, moderate; 101 and 200, unhealthy; 201 and 300, very unhealthy and 300 and above, hazardous.