When Will The Haze Go Away?

Latest API readings and more. The Malaysian Meteorological Department assures Malaysia that the current haze is caused by local bush fires as the Indonesian state of Riau declares a state of emergency due to severe forest burnings.

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Cloudy Blue Skies On 17 March As API Readings Continue To Drop

API readings of the last 24 hours, 17 March 2014

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API reading in Kuantan, Pahang, on 17 March 2014

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API readings in Malaysia, 17 March 2014

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Cloudy blue skies on 17 March

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Beautiful Blue Skies In The Morning Of 15 March With Much Lower API Readings

The API readings in Malaysia halved in the morning of 15 March 2014

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The API reading for Cheras dropped significantly from 147 to 90 at 9am on 15 March 2014

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API readings for Malaysian cities on 15 March improved greatly

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The API reading for Petaling Jaya dropped to 116 from 186 on 15 March 2014

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API Readings In The Evening Of 14 March Improve Slightly

API for Port Klang in the evening of 14 March 2014 reads 'hazardous'

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API reading for Petaling Jaya dropped in the evening of 14 March to 171

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API reading for Cheras at 6pm, 14 March

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API readings in the last 24 hours of 14 March 2014 show slightly better readings

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API readings for Malaysian cities in the evening of 14 March 2014

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Haze Enters Hazardous Levels With API Readings Of Over 350

Construction workers erect a new office tower in front of a Kuala Lumpur skyline blanketed by haze March 3, 2014

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Port Klang and Banting continue to record high Air Pollutant Index (API) reading, which has reached the hazardous level at 352 and 316 respectively, this morning.

A total of 13 spots across the country also recorded unhealthy API readings early today. They are Petaling Jaya (186), Putrajaya (177), Batu Muda in Kuala Lumpur (176), Nilai (168), Port Dickson (167), Shah Alam (166), Kuala Selangor and Seremban (154), Cheras (147), Bukit Rambai (132), Malacca and Muar (114) and Tanjung Malim (110).

The Star reported today that satellite imagery showed there were about 82 hot spots in the peninsula and that most of the fires were happening in Pahang and Johor, according to the Meteorological Department.

Director-general of the Meteorological Department Che Gayah Ismail had said yesterday that states in the west coast of the peninsula would experience showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon during this time. “We expect to see this wet season to last the whole of April and a little in May,” she had said. She warned, however, that the haze could be back after that in June when the southwest monsoon begins.

The highest API value ever recorded was 839 in Kuching on September 23, 1997 during the 1997 Southeast Asian “haze”, a euphemism for the thick smoke covering the region that year.

The API in Port Klang on 14 March 2014, 9am

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Hotspots in the country, 14 March 2014

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At least 10 hotspots were recorded in the Klang Valley

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All Schools In Klang Ordered To Close On Friday Due To Haze

In keeping with the Education Ministry's circular on haze, schools in the Klang district have been ordered to close tomorrow after Port Klang reached a very unhealthy Air Pollutant Index (API) reading.

The view of PJ overlooking the Damansara toll, on 13 March

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The Selangor education department director Datuk Mahmud Karim issued the directive after the API reading in Port Klang showed 233 or very unhealthy at 5pm on Thursday.

"The schools will be closed on Friday and will be reopen depending on the API readings,"* he said. Port Klang is the only place in the country where the reading has registered a very unhealthy reading.

The haze situation in Port Klang on Thursday.

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Selangor exco in charge of environment Elizabeth Wong said the state government would start distributing the first batch of 180,000 single-use face masks on Friday. She said these face masks woulds be available at all state assemblyman’s offices.

File pic of a teacher helping her student put on a face mask due to the haze

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"Since January this year, the Fire and Rescue Services Department (JBPM) has been working round-the-clock to put out fires with the help of the local councils and district offices. However, they are overwhelmed by an unprecedented number of cases. As such, I urge local residents and volunteer organisations to also help in putting out the small fires in their neighbourhoods," she said in a statement. Wong said the haze was due to a combination of transboundary and local sources.

API Reading Soars To 233 In Port Klang At 7.27PM, 13 March

API reading 'very unhealthy' at 7.27PM, 13 March 2014

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API for PJ, Selangor reaches 159 in the evening of 13 March

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Locations in KL and Selangor with unhealthy API readings on 13 March 2014

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Hotspots in Sumatra and more plots in Malaysia with very unhealthy API readings

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API readings in the last 24 hours, 13 March 2014

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13 March: 11 Areas Across Malaysia Wake Up To Horrible Haze

The API of Port Klang, Selangor at 3.47pm, 13 March reads 218 or 'Very unhealthy'

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The haze in Malaysia is worsening as 11 areas recorded increasingly unhealthy API readings as of 8am on Thursday. The Klang Valley and Negri Sembilan recorded most of the high readings

The 11 areas have readings exceeding 100 with Kuala Selangor registering the highest reading at 155 at 8am today. The other areas are: Nilai in Negri Sembilan at 143, Port Klang (137), Banting (134), Putrajaya (124), Bukit Rambai in Malacca (117), Seremban (112), Batu Muda in Kuala Lumpur (112), Petaling Jaya (107), Shah Alam (103) and Sri Aman in Sarawak (101).

Kuala Selangor's API reading on 13 March 2014

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Department of Environment director-general Datuk Halimah Hassan described the hazy situation as “mild” and attributed it to internal factors. “Land and forest fires in Selangor, Perak, Pahang, Johor and Terengganu have seriously affected the air quality levels,” she said. “Other internal sources of pollution are heavy emissions from industries, motor vehicles and land works “The persistent hot and dry weather conditions also cause dust to remain suspended in the air and accumulate, causing the haze.”

Halimah said the department had received 1,392 reports of open burning from the start of the year until March 10. “All cases of open fire were detected in forested, industrial, agriculture, construction and landfill areas as well as various other smaller open fire cases. During this period, 119 cases were issued compounds and 31 cases were issued warning notices,” she said.

13 March: API readings in Malaysia over the last 24 hours

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Haze hotspots in Malaysia on 13 March 2014

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12 March: Nilai And Port Klang Continue To Chart Unhealthy Air Quality

API index in Port Klang as of 12.10pm, 12 March 2014

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Nilai and Port Klang recorded unhealthy Air Pollutant Index (API) readings as at 6am today, according to the Department of Environment (DOE) website.

According to the DOE, the API reading in Nilai was at 120, while Port Klang registered an API reading of 108. Thirty-one areas recorded moderate API readings, including Kuala Selangor (65), Kemaman (53) and Seri Manjung (68).

API index in Port Klang as of 12.10pm, 12 March 2014

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API index in PJ as of 1.46pm, 12 March 2014

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10 March: Five Areas In The Country Mark Unhealthy Air Quality Up To 154 API

Five places in the country had unhealthy air quality as at 6 am today, according to the Department of Environment (DoE).

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Five places in the country had unhealthy air quality as at 6 am today, according to the Department of Environment (DoE). They are Nilai and Seremban in Negeri Sembilan; Kuala Selangor and Port Klang in Selangor and Putrajaya, said a report on the DoE website.

It said Nilai had an Air Pollutant Index (API) reading of 116; Seremban, 104; Kuala Selangor, 106; Port Klang, 154 and Putrajaya, 115.

Port Klang API index on 10 March 2014

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Malaysia air pollutant index on 10 March 2014

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Twenty-six places had a moderate API reading, among them Muar in Johor (86), Tanah Merah in Kelantan (53), Seri Aman in Sarawak (70) and Paka in Terengganu (52) while 19 had a good API reading, among them Kota Tinggi in Johor (32), Jerantut in Pahang (36), Kuching in Sarawak (28) and the Federal Territory of Labuan (49).

9 March: Gloom Over Malaysia With 9 Areas In The Country Scoring Unhealthy API Readings

API for Port Klang, Selangor reads 163 (unhealthy API) as of 7pm, 9 March 2014

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At 2pm today, 9 areas in the country recorded readings in the “unhealthy” category.
The highest reading at 167 was recorded in Port Klang.
Next was Kuala Selangor with a reading of 158.

Map of haze affected areas in Malaysia as of 7pm, 9 March 2014

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Shah Alam in Selangor recorded 127, followed by Banting (137), Petaling Jaya (124), Putrajaya (119), Batu Muda in Kuala Lumpur (109), Nilai, Negeri Sembilan (106) and Seri Manjung in Perak (101). Several other areas also showe API readings in the 90s. They included Cheras in Selangor (100), Muar, Johor, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, SK Jalan Pegoh, Ipoh, and Cheras, Selangor.

API for Petaling Jaya, Selangor reads 122 as of 7pm, 9 March 2014

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Air Quality In Klang Valley Continues To Deteriorate

The air pollutant index (API) for Port Klang registered an increase from 131 last night to 137 in the 6am reading this morning. The hardest hit areas are around the Klang Valley, including Banting (130), Kuala Selangor (110), Petaling Jaya (123), Shah Alam (125) and Batu Muda, Kuala Lumpur (112). Nilai in Negri Sembilan is the latest to join the unhealthy API level at 108.

At least seven areas in the Klang Valley recorded ‘unhealthy’ air pollutant index (API) readings as at 9 am today, with Banting recording 132, based on the Department of Environment’s website. Most parts of Malaysia recorded moderate levels as of this morning.

Headmasters have been given the authority to stop outdoor activities in their schools if the haze worsens. Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said the ministry has no plans at present to issue a directive to halt all outdoor activities in schools.

A spokesman for the Malaysian Meteorological Department (JMM) said the visibility in the Klang Valley was the lowest yesterday. In Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, the visibility was 0.4km as of 4pm and in Subang Jaya, it was 0.6km. Normal visibility is 10km, while readings below 5km are considered unsafe. The visibility improved slightly after a downpour at 5pm.

Air Pollutant Index in Malaysia on 4 March 2014.

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A loadmaster onboard a Royal Malaysian Air Force Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules monitors the cloud seeding operation yesterday over Kuala Lumpur, Hulu Langat and Gombak.

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3 March: Malaysian Skies Have Been Engulfed With Haze And The Air Has Been Smokey Since The Dry Spell Started In February 2014

KL skyline covered by haze on 3 March 2014.

Image via Keow Wee Loong

KL skyline covered by haze on 3 March 2014.

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On 2 March 2014, Air Pollutant Index Reached Unhealthy Levels In Selangor And Negeri Sembilan, Breaching A Reading Of 118

Malaysia API reading on 2 March 2014.

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Unhealthy Air Pollutant Index (API) readings were recorded in several areas in Selangor and Negri Sembilan as folks complained about the hazy sky.

Port Klang saw unhealthy levels of haze for the entire day yesterday, with a final reading of 118. Seremban recorded an API reading of 111 as of 5pm, while Selangor’s Banting hit 108. Putrajaya, too, was smog-ridden with a reading as high as 127 in the afternoon. It improved to 112 later.

However, air quality in other areas in the country, including the capital Kuala Lumpur, remained at moderate levels.

According To The Malaysian Meteorological Department, The Current Haze Is Caused By Local Bush Fires And Dust Particles Due To The Dry Weather

KL skyline covered by haze on 3 March 2014.

Image via Keow Wee Loong.

A spokesman for Malaysia's Meteorology Services Department told The Straits Times the haze on the peninsula was from local conditions."If you look at the dry situation and the parched areas in central Malaysia, you can find quite a lot of local burning."

The hot and dry weather, without any rainfall for several days, had only made the situation worse, she added. "This time, the haze is caused by domestic sources and the lack of rainfall has caused such things as gas, dust, ash and particles to float in the atmosphere and not fall down to the earth," she told Bernama.

Malaysian Meteorological Department Director-General Says The Haze Has No Links To The Volcanic Eruptions Nor Burning In Indonesia

Low visibility: Smog blanketing the second Penang bridge at noon yesterday.

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Malaysian Meteorological Department (JMM) director-general Datuk Che Gayah Ismail said the haze being experienced currently had no links with the recent eruption of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatera, Indonesia or other outside factors.

The Meteorological Department’s forecast director, Mohd Helmi Abdullah, said the haze was a normal occurrence during hot and dry seasons. “It would probably stay on this level until the dry season ends,” he said, adding that the hazy condition was due to fires.

The Meteorological Department’s Forecast Director Says The Haze In Riau Will Unlikely Hit Malaysia Due To The Direction Of The Northeasterly Winds

Helmi said the haze in Riau was not likely to hit Malaysia, as the northeasterly winds was expected to push it away from the country. "API readings in Port Klang, which is in the unhealthy category, is a result of the current dry spell. It was mostly caused by forest fires in parts of the Klang Valley."

Haze enveloped Bandar Saujana Putra outside KL on Saturday, though air quality in the capital was at moderate levels.

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However, Many Fear That Severe Forest Fires In Indonesia's Riau Province That Occured In February 2014 Could Be Contributing To The Haze Here

Riau, the centre of the world’s largest palm oil industry, experiences thousands of fires each dry season as farmers clear land to make way for agricultural expansion.

Image via Reuters

Around Riau in central Sumatra, more than 6,000 hectares of oil palm plantations, community-owned sago and rubber farms have been affected by fire. Most of them are caused by illegal slash-and-burn operations to clear land.

In Pekanbaru, the commander of Riau's haze task force said the extent of fires had reached close to 8,000ha. The meteorology agency said satellite data showed 98 hot spots in Sumatra yesterday morning, all of them in Riau.

File photo showing a forest fire approaching a residential area in Pekanbaru city, capital of Riau province located in Sumatra island, Indonesia.

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The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reading for Riau's capital Pekanbaru remained at very unhealthy levels, hitting 271 yesterday afternoon, while the reading for Siak and some other locations crossed 500, a spokesman for Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency said.

Riau, the centre of the world’s largest palm-oil industry, experiences thousands of fires each dry season as farmers clear land to make way for agricultural expansion. Smoke from forest fires has caused more than 28,000 people in the province to suffer from various respiratory problems, said the Antara news agency.

Open Burning In Riau Has Reached Such Hazardous Levels That Authorities Declared A State Of Emergency On 26 February 2014

In this handout aerial photograph taken on February 28, 2014 and released by the Indonesia Disaster Task Force on March 2, 2014, smoke rises from burning areas of cleared forest land in Riau province in Indonesia's Sumatra island. Riau province, the heart of a South-east Asian smog crisis last year, has declared a state of emergency after being blanketed in thick haze from forest fires.

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Indonesia’s Riau province yesterday declared a State of Emergency and sought help from the central government as choking haze from forest fires and a dry spell worsened the region’s air quality, media reports said.

More than 22,000 people are suffering from respiratory illnesses, said Riau Governor Annas Maamum, who has appealed to the central government for assistance.

Authorities have detected at least 953 hotspots, which have caused low visibility in Riau in the morning. The Riau field and forest fire mitigation task force detected 43 priority hotspots that needed to be extinguished, 15 are located in concession areas belonging to the subsidiaries and partners of Sinar Mas Forestry and Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd. (APRIL).

Singapore Is Also Affected By The Burning In Riau As The Republic Has Been Facing Haze Especially In The Mornings

The NEA said Singapore might experience occasional slight haze due to the accumulation of particulate matter under stable atmospheric conditions. Today

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Singapore's National Environment Agency said prevailing north-easterly winds will keep the haze away from Singapore for the next few days. But there might be slight haze in the mornings, it added. The three-hour PSI reading as of 9pm yesterday remained in the good range, at 30.

The Republic is facing an early, and prolonged, bout of haze, with Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and a pulp and paper giant both warning of an increase in burning in Indonesia.

The Smog From Riau Is Expected To Cross The Malacca Straits When The Wind Conditions Change At The End Of March

Ardhitama of Indonesia's meteorology, climatology and geophysics agency station in Pekanbaru, said a change in wind direction in the upper atmosphere meant haze from Riau has reached Singapore at that level, but at an altitude of about 3,000m, it would not have much of an impact on the ground. However, changing wind conditions at the month's end could see the haze cross the Malacca Strait, he said.

A resident sprays water on a peatland fire in Pekanbaru district in Riau province on Indonesia’s Sumatra island on Feb. 16.

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Peatland Burning In Riau Is Caused By Slash-And-Burn Agricultural Practices. Several Malaysian And Singaporean Palm Oil Companies Are Suspected To Be Practicing This Illegal Land Clearing Method.

Since last year, the police in Riau have launched 41 investigations against companies and individuals that may be involved in slash-and-burn practices in Sumatra.

Coordinating People’s Welfare Minister Agung Laksono said that the police had named 25 suspects including people from Indonesian palm oil companies and some “from Malaysia and Singapore”, adding that some of the suspects were currently on trial.

n June last year, smog from Dumai and other provinces in Sumatra caused PSI readings in Singapore and Malaysia to reach record highs.

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In June 2013, Forest Burning In Sumatra Caused Record Haze Conditions In Malaysia And Singapore

Smoke caused by the thousands of fires burning there last June sent pollution levels soaring in nearby Singapore and Malaysia, straining international relations and eventually drawing an apology from Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The Public Is Advised To Protect Themselves From The Haze By Wearing A Face Mask When Going Outdoors

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