Haze covers Kuala Lumpur amid drought

KUALA LUMPUR - Haze shrouded Malaysia's capital and its surroundings yesterday, causing "unhealthy" air quality due to fires from a drought that has led to water rationing.

The Air Pollution Index rose as high as 150 in seven areas - mostly in Kuala Lumpur and the central state of Selangor, the country's economic hub which surrounds the capital. A reading of 100 to 200 means air quality is "unhealthy".

Visibility was less than 1km in central Malaysia early yesterday, when the iconic Petronas Twin Towers were shrouded in smog that forced city residents to wear face masks.

Outside the Klang Valley, Muar (90) and Seremban (94) were other areas with near-unhealthy air.

"The moderate haze the country is experiencing is due to internal sources resulting from land and forest fires in a few states," the Department of Environment said in a statement.

Haze in the past has originated from neighbouring Indonesia, where one province declared a state of emergency last week after being blanketed in thick haze from forest fires.

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