Haze from Indonesian fires returns to Malaysia

Haze from Indonesian fires returns to Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR - Haze blanketed parts of Malaysia on Monday, weeks after the region suffered its worst pollution from forest fires in Indonesia in more than a decade.

Three areas -- two in southern Malacca state and a third in Selangor near the capital Kuala Lumpur -- recorded "unhealthy" air quality with readings above 100, according to the Department of Environment.

In Malaysia, Air Pollutant Index readings of 100-200 are branded "unhealthy". Readings in much of the rest of the country were below 100 at "moderate" levels.

A department official said the haze -- caused by blazes on Indonesia's Sumatra island due to the slash and burn method of land clearance for cultivation -- was expected to continue for two to three days before rain would bring relief.

Malaysia and neighbouring Singapore last month choked on the worst haze in more than a decade, with readings of more than 300 marking "hazardous" air quality in some parts of Malaysia.

The pollution scared off tourists, forced schools to close and caused a rise in respiratory illnesses.

Skies were clear in Singapore on Monday, with the country's Pollutant Standards Index reading within the "good" band, the National Environment Agency website said.

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