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Haze in Kuching worsens as API breaches 200, indicating very unhealthy air quality
Posted on : 07 Sep 2019  Source of News: https://www.theborneopost.com
 

KUCHING: The Air Pollutant Index (API) reading for Kuching has now risen above 200 as early as 7am this morning, indicating very unhealthy air quality.

It was at 202 and gradually rose to 210 as at 10am.

Similarly, the rest of the state recorded APIs exceeding unhealthy levels (above 100).

Kapit recorded the lowest API at 61. Other areas recording moderate readings are Limbang (71), Samalaju (84), Bintulu (90) and Sibu (99).

The Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) activated Alert Level 3 for Kalimantan on Thursday due to further deterioration in the haze situation in Kalimantan over the past few days.

Persistent hotspot clusters detected in the provinces of South, West and Central Kalimantan have contributed to a significant build-up of smoky haze over many areas in Kalimantan. Haze from hotspots in West Kalimantan have also been blown by prevailing winds to parts in Sarawak.

Based on surveillance by the NOAA-19 satellite, there has been an increase in hotspot activities – 114 and 459 hotspots were detected in Kalimantan on Sept 3 and 4 respectively.

“In view that the current dry weather is expected to persist over the region in the coming weeks, a further escalation of hotspot activities in Kalimantan is possible. With the prevailing winds forecast to continue blowing from the southeast or southwest, ASMC assessed that the risk of trans-boundary haze occurrence is high,” said ASMC.

Level 3 is the highest alert level, with detected hotspots exceeding 250 in two consecutive days with dense smoke plumes, persistent dry weather and prevailing winds blowing towards ASEAN countries.

The number of hotspots detected in Kalimantan on the other hand, has decreased from 811 to 780 yesterday.

There were scattered showers in the northern ASEAN region yesterday. In the southern ASEAN region, the weather remained generally dry over many areas. Moderate to dense smoke haze continued to be observed from persistent hotspots in the provinces of Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, and Lampung.

“In Kalimantan, widespread moderate to dense smoke haze continued to shroud many areas in Central and South Kalimantan where persistent hotspot clusters were detected. In West Kalimantan, moderate to dense smoke haze was observed to emanate from scattered hotspots. The smoke haze has been blown by the prevailing winds toward western Sarawak,” said ASMC.

Meanwhile, over the next few days, rain showers can be expected over the northern ASEAN region and the prevailing winds are forecast to continue blowing from the southwest or west. In the southern ASEAN region, generally dry conditions are expected to prevail, but there may be isolated showers over northern Sumatra, parts of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and North Kalimantan.

The prevailing winds are forecast to blow from the southeast or southwest. With the weather likely to remain generally dry over the next few days, the hotspot and haze situation in Sumatra and Kalimantan can be expected to persist.