Haze: Sarawak recreational parks may face closure

Haze: Sarawak recreational parks may face closure
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

KUCHING - Recreational parks could be closed if the haze breaches the very unhealthy level of above 201 on the Air Pollution Index (API).

Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) mayor Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai said sealing off public parks could be a possibility, when asked Sunday morning.

"We haven't closed any yet but if the reading is above 201, then we could close all the parks and recreational areas. This is to prevent unforeseen circumstances from occurring," Abdul Wahap said.

The city hall has already cancelled several outdoor sporting activities, he told reporters after a gotong-royong event at Kai Joo Lane here.

"We cancelled our public aerobics classes this weekend. I have also told the cycling associations to not cycle in this weather. Everybody has got to be mindful of everybody's health," he said.

At noon, the API for the city centre was 111 and 114 for nearby Samarahan. At Sri Aman, about 160km away, the API was 103.

The readings indicate better air quality from the day before but visibility notably had reduced to 600m, which was roughly the same as when the API reading was at its highest on Friday and Saturday.

Other cancelled activities include a charity run by the Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA).

Scheduled for today, it has been postponed to Oct 25 because of the hazy conditions.

SSPCA president Dona Wee said the postponement took into account concern for the safety and health of the runners and those involved in the event as well as directives from the authorities.

"The current hazy condition is also making visibility limited and this will pose a danger to participats running along the route in the early morning," Wee said.

The Urban Sketchers Group has also cancelled its monthly gathering, which was supposed to be held at DBKU's Orchid Park today.

According to the Singapore-based ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre, there could still be hundreds of hotspots on Borneo, almost all of which are in Kalimantan.

On Saturday, the centre's public data showed NOAA-18 satellite detected 98 hotspots, while the AQUA satellite detected 242 hotspots.

In its most recent regional haze update, it said the latest hotspot situation in Sumatra and Kalimantan could not be fully determined due to cloud cover.

"However, under the prevailing dry weather conditions, widespread moderate to dense smoke haze continued to be detected in Sumatra and Kalimantan. Transboundary haze from Kalimantan continued to affect Sarawak and has spread to South China Sea. Haze from Sumatra was also observed to have spread to Strait of Malacca and parts of the western peninsula Malaysia," it added.

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