Haze worsens as more hotspots detected in Kalimantan

Forest fire at Semariang today.

KUCHING, Sept 6: As at 5pm today, hotspots detected in Kalimantan has increased to an alarming 1,087 from 455 yesterday while Sumatera registered 306 hotspots, causing air quality in several areas in Sarawak to deteriorate.

There were twelve hotspots detected in Sarawak as there were those who defied warnings and advise to stop open burning in the state.

State Disaster Management Committee secretariat Major Ismail Mahedin said the Department of Environment’s Air Pollutant Index (API) monitoring stations recorded unhealthy readings for Sri Aman at 189, followed by Miri (148), Kuching (150), Sibu (132), Mukah (107), Samarahan (143) and Sarikei (126).

Areas with moderate API readings were SK Baram (74), Bintulu (82), Samalaju (73), Kapit (62), Limbang (63) and ILP Miri (82).

An API reading of 0 to 50 denotes good air quality, between 51 and 100 (moderate), 101 to 200 (unhealthy), 201 to 300 (very unhealthy) and over 301 (hazardous).

Meanwhile, firefighters from Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) are still battling several forest and wildfires in Kuching, Samarahan, Sibu, Tanjung Manis, Sri Aman, and Limbang.

Acting deputy director Tiong Ling Hii informed that they have received 85 cases since Sept 1, with more than 180 acres of land affected by the fires.

The public are urged to report any open burning activities to Sarawak Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) or Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change.— DayakDaily