It's Not The 'Season' For Haze, It's Called Air Pollution

Did you just say "the haze is back"? You should know that you're inhaling smoke emitted from open burnings, factories and motor vehicles. Read on for more facts.

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The Polluted Air You're Inhaling Is Caused By Smoke Emitted From Factories, Vehicles And Open Burning

The skyline of Kuala Lumpur

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Most of these pollutants come from sources such as industries, motor vehicles, open burning and power generation. English daily The Star yesterday reported that the smoke emitted from factories and vehicles, as well as lower rainfall, had contributed to the haze.

The API calculation is based on five major air pollutants, namely sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ground level ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter below 10 micrometres (PM10) diameter. An API reading of 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.

API Readings On 23 June Show Slight Improvement But Dry Weather And Weak Winds Are Causing Dust And Smoke To Stagnate In The Air

The API in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur at 23 June 2014

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The Star reported today that Malaysian Meteorological De­­partment spokesman Dr Hisham Mohd Anip said the situation was likely due to weakening wind conditions, which may have caused the smoke to become stagnant. “The dry weather has caused the dust and smoke to be suspended in the air. Strong wind for the past couple of weeks has dispersed them but the wind flow was probably weak yesterday,” the English daily quoted him as saying.

The API in Petaling Jaya, Selangor at 23 June 2014

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Malaysian Meteorological Department spokesman Dr Hisham Mohd Anip told The Star that no rainfall was expected until next week, except for local isolated rain in inland areas.

If You Find Yourself Saying "The Haze Is Back" A Lot, You Should Know That It's Air Pollution, Not Just A Passing Season

Polluted skies are becoming a norm.

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You May Have Thought It Was Linked To El Nino But The Phenomenon Is Not Due Till The Fourth Quarter Of 2014, Says Our Meteorological Department

In recent statements, MetMalaysia Deputy Director-General Alui Bahari said El Nino would kick in only in the middle of next year. But in an email to FMT yesterday, another MetMalaysia official said it would begin to strengthen this September and start peaking in December. “The phenomenon will peak in December 2014 until February 2015 and will end after March next year,” said the email from Phang Kun Liong of MetMalaysia’s Corporate and Commercial Service Department.

The El Nino phenomenon refers to the prolonged warming of surface temperatures over the eastern Pacific Ocean for six months every two to seven years. On the hot weather in the country now, Mohd Hisham (Malaysian Meteorological Society) said this was due to the current southwest moonsoon period which brought the heat, less rainfall and less cloud formations.

"Besides, the effects cannot be accurately predicted as it would depend on the strength of the El Nino, whether it is at a weak, moderate or strong level," he said.

Just Three Months Ago, The Haze In Malaysia Peaked At Hazardous Levels

Last year, Putrajaya declared a state of emergency in Muar and Ledang in Johor which were choked by smoke from forest fires in Indonesia as the API readings crossed 300. The Muar API reading was Malaysia's highest since the API hit 860 during a severe 1997-1998 haze crisis that gripped the region and thrust the issue onto the Southeast Asian agenda.

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