Dry season triggers start of nationwide monitoring plan

Dry season triggers start of nationwide monitoring plan
Poor visibility
Haze blanketing the tarmac at KLIA in Sepang.

PETALING JAYA - The Open Burning Prevention Plan has been activated nationwide for the authorities to monitor air pollution because of the current dry season, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel.

He said that the change in the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings to the unhealthy level was due to the haze, which normally occurred during the south-west monsoon season, with the hot and dry weather expected to persist until this September.

"Several measures have been taken due to the hot weather and El Nino, including monitoring and enforcement activities, especially areas identified as hot spots.

"Court action can be taken for open burning cases at construction, industrial and farm areas," he said in a statement on his Facebook page yesterday.

It was reported that unhealthy levels of air pollution were recorded in Port Klang, while other areas in the country recorded moderate and good readings.

An API reading of between 0 and 50 is considered good, 51 to 100 moderate, 101 to 200 unhealthy, 201 to 300 very unhealthy and 301 and above hazardous.

Palanivel said aerial surveillance was also being conducted to prevent any form of burning, especially in areas prone to burning and high-risk rural areas.

The Department of Environment (DoE) also recorded a total of 3,854 cases of open burning, involving 825 cases in forest, agricultural areas (1,225 cases), industrial areas (31 cases), construction areas (117 cases), land fill areas (66 cases), bush areas (905 cases) and other small open fires (685 cases) as at June 10.

"A total of 256 cases of open burning have been issued compounds while 86 cases have been given warning orders. 43 investigation papers have also been opened for prosecution in courts," he said.

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