Haze to linger in Brunei for next few days

THE ongoing transboundary haze affecting the country is expected to continue over the next few days, the Brunei Meteorological Department said yesterday.

Speaking with The Brunei Times, a duty forecaster at the department said the haze would continue as long as the country experiences southwesterly winds, which "we've been having for the past week".

The southwesterly winds were currently responsible for bringing the transboundary haze from Kalimantan in Indonesia towards Brunei, she said.

She said it is considered the dry season in the region at the moment.

Meanwhile, a Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (JASTRe) duty officer said the department was actively monitoring haze maps for regional hotspots from fires.

"From the haze map, (we can see) there are quite a significant number of hotspots, especially in Southwest, Central and East Kalimantan.

"This could be the cause of our transboundary haze," she said.

The JASTRe officer also said they were actively observing Pollutant Standard Index (PSI) patterns while trying to verify with the Fire and Rescue Department whether there were local fires happening, especially in the Belait and Tutong districts.

"We were afraid there are forest fires in remote areas or peat land, but so far, the Fire and Rescue Department hasn't reported any," she said.

The JASTRe duty officer noted that current wind patterns had directed the haze from Kalimantan towards Brunei.

PSI readings on the JASTRe website at 4pm yesterday were 54 and 59 for Belait and Tutong, respectively, while the Brunei-Muara and Temburong districts both recorded PSI readings of 40.

PSI readings below 50 are "good" while readings between 50 and 100 are "moderate".