Air quality down in many parts of M’sia

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia – Air quality has dipped in many parts of the country even as hotspots continue to be detected in Sumatra.

As at 5pm yesterday, 36 areas recorded moderate air quality readings compared to 33 at 11am and 27 at 5pm on Monday. The remaining areas had healthy readings.

All areas in the Klang Valley recorded a gradual increase in the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings throughout the day yesterday.

The Department of Environment website said Petaling Jaya’s API increased from 66 at 7am yesterday, to 73 by 5pm, while the API for Batu Muda went from 64 to 77 over the same period.

The SK Jalan Pegoh station in Ipoh and Nilai in Negri Sembilan recorded the highest API readings at 78 by 5pm yesterday.

Other areas with API readings of above 70 included Cheras (73), Shah Alam (73), Port Klang (70) and Bukit Rambai, Malacca (71).

A good API reading is from 0-50, moderate (51-100), unhealthy (101-200), very unhealthy (201-299) and hazardous (from 300 and above).

The latest regional haze map noted that hotspots and smoke plumes were detected in central and south Sumatra due to the persistent dry conditions.

“Slight to moderate haze was observed to have spread to the Straits of Malacca and as far north as Penang island,” the map notes stated.

As at 7pm yesterday, poor visibility was recorded in Alor Star (2km), Butterworth (3km), Bayan Lepas, Prai and Ipoh at 4km respectively, the Meteorological Department said.

Petaling Jaya and Subang recorded visibility levels of 7km and 6km respectively. Normal visibility levels are at 10km and above.

The department forecast that no rain is expected in Petaling Jaya or Putrajaya over the next four days, while the rest of the Klang Valley is expected to experience isolated showers or fair weather.

A similar weather pattern is forecast for Kedah, Malacca, Negri Sembilan and Perlis. The remaining states are expected to have isolated showers, rain or thunderstorms over the next few days,

The southwest monsoon, which is generally a dry season with occasional rain, is expected to end later this month.

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