News: Onset of El Nino brings back the haze

The Sun Daily, 22 Jun 2014

PETALING JAYA: The El Nino phenomenon is set to bring back the haze, although it is yet to be known whether it’s going to be worse than what Malaysians encountered three months ago.

As of 2pm today, the air pollutant index (API) readings at the Department of Environment’s (DOE) website indicated that the API reading of 106 for Port Klang had breached the unhealthy mark of 101.

This was closely followed by Shah Alam (96), Petaling Jaya (90), Banting (86) and Kuala Selangor (80).

It is believed that the sudden increase in API readings in these areas was mostly due to the smoke emitted from factories and vehicles as well as the continuous hot weather in the past few days resulting from the El Nino phenomenon.

On a positive note, other districts are recording slightly better API readings with most of them within the good and moderate mark.

An API reading between 0 and 50 is considered good; 51 and 100, moderate; 101 and 200, unhealthy; 201 and 300, very unhealthy; and 301 and above, hazardous.

However, if there is still no rainfall for the next day or two, these figures are expected to go up because more open burning, forest fires and peat fires are likely to happen during the prolonged hot weather.

A check at the Fire and Rescue Department’s website showed that as of June 16, there were a total of 416 cases of open burning, forest fires and peat fires.

When contacted, a DOE spokesman said the department is monitoring the situation closely, but declined to elaborate further.