Hazy air due to dry spell

The Star, 1 Jul 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: The hazy conditions experienced in some areas in the country are due to the ongoing dry spell and lack of strong winds, said the Meteorological Department.

Department National Weather Centre senior meteorologist Dr Hisham Mohd Anip said that Malaysians need not worry too much as conditions should improve by Sunday.

“This is not a full blown haze and has nothing to do with forest fires or hot spots from neighbouring countries.

“The reason why you notice that the air isn’t so clean is because we are currently experiencing a stable atmospheric condition,” he said

This essentially means that the air is dry and there are no strong winds to move pollutants in the air.

“Due to this, you have elements such as factory smoke, vehicle smoke, dust and other pollutants clogging up the air,” he said.

Dr Hisham however said that stronger winds are expected to build up by the coming weekend.

“There should be some sort of improvement in the air quality by then.

“In the meantime, it is best to stay indoors to avoid breathing in too much of the unhealthy air,” he said.

On the possibility of a full blown haze hitting the country soon, Dr Hisham said that it was highly unlikely at the moment.

“We may experience haze nearer the end of the year,” he said.

Checks by The Star on the Air Pollutant Index (API) by the Department of Environment (DOE) revealed that most areas in the country were experiencing moderate levels of air pollutants.

As of 3pm yesterday, unhealthy API readings were recorded at Cheras and Batu Muda in Kuala Lumpur. The readings were at 106 and 119 respectively.

When asked on the possibility of rain to clear the air and fill some of the dams which have recorded low water levels, Dr Hisham said that the rains were unlikely to make a significant difference this time.

“We expect some rain but not that much. The wet season will only begin in early September,” he said.

Syarikat Air Bekalan Selangor (Syabas) had previously warned that taps in the Klang Valley may run dry again due to the dry spell in July and August.

Its Corporate Communications and Public Affairs manager Priscilla Alfred said that while most dams in Selangor were above the 70% capacity, this would not guarantee that there will be no disruptions including during the Hari Raya period later this month.

The cause of the shortage was due to increased usage during the hot season and the dry spell itself.