Haze has made a comeback to various parts of Malaysia at unhealthy levels, according to Air Pollutant Index (API) readings of the Department of Environment
Yesterday, 18 March, New Straits Times reported that the Rompin, Pahang API station recorded a reading of 171, while Banting, Selangor reached 102.
Meanwhile, 62 API stations nationwide showed moderate readings and only two stations recorded good air quality.
The range of API readings are as below:
- Between 0 and 50 is good,
- 51 to 100 is moderate,
- 100 to 200 is unhealthy,
- 200 to 300 is very unhealthy, and
- 300 and above is hazardous.
On that note, the Deputy Education Minister announced yesterday that schools are allowed to close if API levels worsen
Malay Mail quoted Teo Nie Ching as saying, "We already gave power (turunkan kuasa) to the schools so no need for them to come back to the Ministry for permission to close school or stop outdoor activities because we want them to make decisions there and then.
"We already have standard operating procedures (SOP), meaning when there is haze, actually it is for the school to decide," she told reporters at Parliament.
Additionally, a heatwave has also hit several parts of Malaysia with temperatures rising between 35 degrees and 40 degrees Celsius
On 17 March, the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) issued a level 1 alert for 21 areas in nine states of Peninsula Malaysia. Three other areas were added to the list the following day.
These are the 23 areas affected:
- Chuping (Perlis),
- Kota Setar (Kedah),
- Sik (Kedah),
- Baling (Kedah),
- Kulim (Kedah),
- Hulu Perak (Perak),
- Kuala Kangsar (Perak),
- Kinta and Batang Padang (Perak),
- Jerantut (Pahang),
- Raub (Pahang),
- Temerloh (Pahang),
- Maran (Pahang),
- Bentong (Pahang),
- Kuala Selangor (Selangor),
- Kelang (Selangor),
- Hulu Selangor (Selangor),
- Sepang (Selangor),
- Petaling (Selangor),
- Jelebu (Negri Sembilan)
- Rembau (Negri Sembilan),
- Tangkak (Johor), and
- Kuala Lumpur.
The other regions, which includes Sabah and Sarawak, recorded temperatures below 35 degrees Celsius, The Star reported.
Meanwhile, a level 2 heatwave alert was issued for Pendang, Kedah after temperatures recorded between 37 degrees and 40 degrees Celsius
"The hot weather is due to the lack of cloud cover and low rainfall during the end of the north-east monsoon," said MetMalaysia director-general Datuk Alui Bahari, according to The Star.
However, the extreme heat is expected to reduce by next month once the monsoon season starts.
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