Segamat, Tanah Merah record unhealthy API yesterday - DOE

14 Apr 2023 03:10pm
picture for illustrative purposes - FILEPIC
picture for illustrative purposes - FILEPIC
PUTRAJAYA - Two areas recorded unhealthy air quality readings yesterday, namely in Segamat, Johor and Tanah Merah, Kelantan, according to the Department of Environment (DOE).

Environment director-general Wan Abdul Latiff Wan Jaffar said the Air Pollutant Index (API) recorded in Segamat was 139 while Tanah Merah was 109 as of 2 pm yesterday.

API readings between 0 to 50 are categorised as good, 51 to 100 (moderate), 101 to 200 (unhealthy), 201 to 300 (very unhealthy), while 300 and above are hazardous.

In a statement today, he said the country is currently in the monsoon transition phase which began on March 23 and is expected to end in mid-May.

Based on a report by the Malaysian Meteorological Department, he said during the phase, the country will receive weak winds from various directions that increase the potential for thunderstorms and heavy rains with strong winds in a short period of time.

"This incident happened mainly in the evening and early night in most areas in the states on the west coast and interior of the peninsula, west Sabah and west and central Sarawak," he said.

He said DOE will constantly monitor the API reading trend across the country from time to time and carry out monitoring to prevent open burning on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, Wan Abdul Latiff said based on a report by the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) on April 12, there were three hotspots detected through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA20) satellite images in Selangor, Terengganu and Sarawak respectively.

"The detected hotspots will be investigated under Section 29A, Environmental Quality Act, 1974," he said.
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In the hot and dry weather, he said the environment looked hazy especially after peak hours due to the emission from vehicles, industry, earthworks activities and also incidents of open burning in several areas in Peninsular Malaysia.

"This is due to the fine dust from such activities deflecting the sunlight causing the air to be hazy," he said.

Wan Abdul Latiff said the peatland fire that occurred in Riau, Indonesia also contributed to the increase in API readings in the south of the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

He reminded the public not to conduct open burning, especially in peatland areas, garbage disposal sites, or allow their land or premises to be trespassed by irresponsible parties,to carry out open burning for a specific purpose or by accident.

According to Section 29A of the Environmental Quality Act 1974, those convicted of committing open burning can be fined a maximum of RM500,000 or imprisoned for a maximum period of five years or both, as well as a maximum compound of RM2,000 can also be imposed for each offence - BERNAMA