Haze Emergency To Be Declared Only When API Exceeds 500

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PUTRAJAYA: Cloud seeding will be carried out in Sarawak on or after Sept 19, subject to weather and cloud conditions, the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA), which is monitoring the haze situation in the country said in a statement today.

It said a state of haze emergency would only be declared when the Air Pollutant Index (API) exceeded 500.

Such a situation had been declared in Kuching, Sarawak, on Sept 19, 1997 , when the API reading there was 650; on Aug 1, 2005 in Kuala Selangor and Port Klang, Selangor when the API was 231, on June 3, 2013 in the districts of Muar and Ledang in Johor, where the API exceeded 500.

According to the Department of Environment DOE), as at 8 am today, 29 stations recorded unhealthy air quality, three areas (very unhealthy) and one area, namely Sri Aman in Sarawak, with hazardous air quality.

The stations with very unhealthy air quality were Port Dickson in Negeri Sembilan (207), Kuching in Sarawak (216) and Johan Setia in Klang, Selangor (232).

An API reading of between zero to 50 indicates good air quality; 51 to 100, moderate; 101 to 200, unhealthy; 201 to 300, very unhealthy and 300 and above, hazardous.

A total of 531 schools, involving 363,991 students, were closed today, with 145 of the schools in Selangor, Sarawak (298), Negeri Sembilan (63) and Putrajaya (25).

NADMA advised the public, especially those living in areas with unhealthy air to reduce their outdoor activities.

“If the people have to be outdoor, they have put on face mask, drink a lot of water and do not carry out open burning,” it said.

For those driving in areas with API of more than 300, like Sri Aman, it said, they should switch on the headlamps of their vehicles.