PETALING JAYA - Air quality in two areas in Johor which had been at the "hazardous" level on the Air Pollutant Index (API) saw a slight improvement, moving into the "very unhealthy" and "unhealthy" levels.
At press time, data on the Department of Environment (DOE) website showed that five areas were still badly affected by the haze with API readings above 200.
Kota Tinggi, Muar, Malacca, Bukit Rambai and Port Dickson were all placed in the "very unhealthy" category by 5pm yesterday.
Another five areas Larkin Lama, Pasir Gudang, Nilai, Seremban and Banting were reported to have "unhealthy" air quality.
According to the website, 70 per cent of the country had fallen into the "moderate" levels on the API, leaving only 10 per cent of the country still with "good" air quality.
API readings between 51 and 100 are considered moderate, 101 to 200 unhealthy, 201 to 300 is very unhealthy and anything above 301 is considered hazardous.
At 11am yesterday, the API reading increased in almost all areas nationwide, with Kota Tinggi and Pasir Gudang in the "hazardous" category with readings of 314 and 323.
The worst API reading was in 1997, where a state of emergency was declared in Kuching after its API reached 839.
In George Town, the haze has crept into certain parts of the northern peninsula, with the API recorded at moderate levels, while the air quality in other parts of the northern states was still good.
The DOE website said the API reading at its Seberang Jaya 2 station in mainland Penang was 62 as of 7am and increased steadily to 71 at 5pm.
The reading at Universiti Sains Malaysia on the island was 57 at 7am and rose to 64 (5pm). In Prai on the mainland, it was 54 (7am) and went up to 64 (5pm).
In Bakar Arang in Sungai Petani, Kedah, the reading rose from 58 (7am) to 64 (5pm).
The reading in Langkawi, Kedah, was good in the earlier part of the day but rose to 52 at 5pm.
The API readings in Kangar and in Alor Setar remained below 50 for the 5pm reading yesterday.
In Kota Kinabalu, the state continued to be enveloped in a moderate level of haze with DOE reporting the API at 76 in some of parts of the state late yesterday.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said Sabah was hoping that the haze could be effectively tackled by ASEAN member countries as areas of open burning were within this region.
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