Sarawak should brace for haze

Map of hotspots as at Aug 8, 2020 from Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) website.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Aug 8: Sarawak should brace for haze as hotspots and fires were detected in West Kalimantan, Indonesia and Sarawak.

According to Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) website, West Kalimantan has recorded 185 hotspots, followed by 45 in Sabah and Sarawak, today.

“Clusters of hotspots with smoke haze were detected particularly in West Kalimantan and when blown by the prevailing wind, some of the smoke haze were transported to parts of western Sarawak,” the ASMC said.

Firefighters respond to bush fire in Asajaya.

On top of that, firefighters from several stations statewide were also called to respond to emergency bush fire.

Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) Miri zone chief PgKB I Law Poh Kiong said due to the hot weather lately, haze can still set in if open burning is not brought under control.

“Therefore we in Borneo must take precautions especially for those who conduct shifting cultivation and open burning.

“Although bush or forest fires and haze are becoming an annual problem, if it is not tackled as early as possible, it can threaten Sarawak because we are still in the midst of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic,” Law added.

Bush fire in Sibu.

Bomba Sarawak operations centre shift supervisor PKPgB Mohd Asnan Led said they received 10 emergency calls pertaining to bush and plantation fire today.

Firefighters from Asajaya responded to a case at Kampung Tambirat at 1.31pm.

Over in Sibu, firefighters were called at 3.37pm over bush fire at Kampung Bahagia Jaya, Teku.

In Mukah, police contacted firefighters at 3.45pm over bush fire at Kaul Oya fest site.

Firefighters in Bintulu also responded to plantation fire at Kampung Tengah Nyalau at 7.29pm.

Miri reported two cases, followed by one each at Sibu, Sg Merah, Samalaju, Kota Samarahan.

Bush fire in Samalaju.

Meanwhile, checks on air quality at Ministry of Environment and Water MyIPU app showed the air pollutant index (API) reading in Sarawak as at 9pm is good for Limbang (45), Kapit (38), Sri Aman (36), Samarahan (36).

Areas recorded with moderate level API are ILP Miri (54), Miri (65), Samalaju (54), Bintulu 63), Mukah (51), Sibu (52), Sarikei (52) and Kuching (52).

An API reading from 0 to 50 is categorised as good, 51 to 100 (moderate), 101 to 200 (unhealthy), 201 to 300 (very unhealthy) and above 300 (hazardous).-DayakDaily