Haze situation improving with change in wind patterns and rain helping to clear smog

The Star, 27 Jun 2013

PETALING JAYA: A change in wind patterns has helped clear the haze that has choked most of the nation for the past few days.

This followed a drizzle in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday evening which helped reduce the thickness of the smog.

There was a significant improvement in the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings yesterday, with 42 areas around the country registering “Moderate” as of 5pm.

Only three areas are categorised as “Unhealthy” – Malacca City (101), Bukit Rambai (107) and Nilai (153).

API readings between 0-50 are considered “Good”; 51-100 as “Mode­-rate”, 101-200 as “Unhealthy” and 201-300 as “Very Unhealthy”. Any reading above 300 is “Hazardous”.

Port Klang, which recorded a high of 495 on the API at 8am on Tuesday, recorded a much healthier reading of 115 at noon yesterday.

Petaling Jaya, meanwhile, registered an API reading of 82 (Moderate) at 5pm yesterday, as opposed to 181 (Unhealthy) a day earlier.

The Department of Environment (DOE) said the south westerly winds, which were currently at a speed of less than 10kph and blowing from various directions, had dispelled the haze to a wider area.

It said the rain had also helped to reduce haze particles, which resulted in improved air quality.

“The current weather condition is expected to continue until Friday and during the period, the air quality is expected to stabilise and improve if the haze at hotspots in central Sumatra continue to lessen,” it said in a statement.

DOE added that the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) had also reported that the number of hotspots in Sumatra had dropped drastically to 174 on Tuesday compared with 437 on Monday.

DOE also said the number of complaints related to open burning from June 14 until yesterday were at 293.

DOE advised the public not to conduct open burning and urged them to put out small fires and report such cases to the Fire and Rescue De­­partment at 999 or the DOE’s toll-free number at 1-800-88-2727.

In George Town, despite the cloudy skies, the haze had cleared up and visibility improved, offering clear views of the 65-storey Komtar building from the mainland.

After a spell of rain on Tuesday night, the API as of 11am yesterday stood at a moderate level with visibility recorded at 8km.

The northern states of Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu also recorded an improvement in their API readings, falling under the moderate and good air status.

In Kota Kinabalu, the visibility and air pollutant levels dropped to 65 from 71 for Kota Kinabalu at 2pm yesterday following a brief shower.