Haze alert: Kuching hits very unhealthy API level at 204

Burning in neighbouring country is contributing to Kuching City's grim skyline. Photo credit: Michael Liew.

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KUCHING, Sept 7: The haze sweeping across Sarawak is at very unhealthy level in Kuching, as at 9am today.

According to the latest Air Pollutant Index (API) reading, Kuching is at 204.

Other areas under the unhealthy categories are Sri Aman (190), Samarahan (186), Miri (143), Sarikei (136), ILP Miri (110), SK Kuala Baram 2 (108) and Mukah (106).

Elsewhere in Sarawak, where the API records moderate readings, are Bintulu (90), Samalaju (85), Limbang (70) and Kapit (61).

The poor air quality in the state has been attributed to severe forest fires in Sumatera and Kalimantan, adding to change in wind direction from Indonesia towards Sarawak.

State Disaster Management Committee secretariat Major Ismail Mahedin said hotspots detected in Kalimantan stands at 1,087, while Sumatera (306) and Sarawak (12).

“To make it worse, several forest, peatland and bush fires by local unscrupulous farmers, individual and companies still defying to warnings by authorities on open burning activities.”

Malaysia’s API has five categories of air quality. Hazardous levels are readings above 300 while 201-300 is considered very unhealthy; 101-200 is unhealthy; 51-100 is moderate and everything below 50 is good. — DayakDaily