||Asean Affairs 23 July 2013
Haze returns to south Pen. M'sia
As forewarned by Malaysian environment authorities, the haze has returned.
Two areas in Malacca state, south Peninsula Malaysia - Bukit Rambai and Malacca town - were hit with high recordings of unhealthy Air Pollution Index (API) readings on Sunday.
Bukit Rambai recorded an API reading of 114, while the reading for Malacca city rose from 70 to 88 between midnight and 3pm, reducing visibility to the extent of slowing down traffic.
Malaysian Department of Environment (DOE) director-general Halimah Hassan said the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) detected three hotspots in Sumatra on Thursday, which spiked to 43 on Friday and 159 on Saturday.
“DOE is monitoring the situation closely and is looking out for any open burning,” she said.
ASMC’s hotspot map stated that four hotspots were detected in Johor as of early Saturday morning.
The Meteorological Department central forecasting office director Muhammad Helmi Abdullah said haze particles would be carried across to Peninsular Malaysia as the wind was still blowing from a southwesterly direction.
“The number of hotspots is also very important. If it increases, then even a light wind will carry the haze particles across,” he pointed out.
Fortunately, he said, the current wind strength was weaker compared to several weeks ago when severe haze shrouded parts of the Malaysian peninsula and Singapore.
Muhammad Helmi said drier weather was expected in the coming weeks due to changing weather patterns which could lead to the haze affecting the region again.
“If conditions worsen, we will look at the possibility of conducting cloud seeding again,” he said, adding that cloud seeding operations would not be successful if the weather was very dry.