Penang still blanketed by haze

Penang still blanketed by haze
A group of men fishing amid the thick blanket of haze at Gurney Drive.

GEORGE TOWN- Penang remained shrouded in haze, with Air Pollutant Index (API) readings at the "moderate" level at the three stations in the state.

A check with the Department of Environment website showed that the reading at the Seberang Jaya 2 station improved slightly from 74 at 6am yesterday to 71 at 3pm.

The reading at the Prai station, however, worsened from 63 at 6am yesterday to 71 in the afternoon, with the USM station reading registering 79. .

Statistics provided by the department's website showed visibility in Bayan Lepas had improved to 8km as of 4pm compared to 4km at 8am.

Visibility in Butterworth declined from 4km at 8am to 3km at 4pm, while visibility in Prai remained steady at 6km throughout the day.

A Penang Meteorological Depart­ment spokesman said visibility on the island had improved considerably but worsened slightly in parts of the mainland.

The three areas in Sarawak that recorded bad API readings earlier improved to a moderate level.

Based on satellite observations, there were still spirals of hazy smoke in mid and central Sumatra, and in mid and western Kalimantan in Indonesia.

The south-west monsoon is expected to end this month, to be followed by the monsoon transition period.

The weather is expected to be dry and hot, and the haze could cross borders during this period.

Meanwhile, Malaysia welcomed Indonesia's ratification of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution.

Natural Resources and Envi­ronment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel and environmental experts see the ratification as reflecting Indonesia's seriousness in wanting to tackle cross-border haze caused by forest fires.

They expressed confidence that Indonesia is prepared to address the haze problem effectively.

Indonesia's Parliament voted on Tuesday to ratify the regional agreement, 12 years after the Government had signed it.

The agreement was drawn up after the worst haze on record occurred in 1997.

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