Johor breathing easier now thanks to rain and winds

The haze reached hazardous levels in many parts of Malaysia last week. But after two days of short intermittent downpours in the afternoons and strong winds, the areas badly affected by the haze have begun to see their skies clearing.

JOHOR BARU: Two days of short intermittent downpours in the afternoons and strong winds have helped to clear the skies in the parts of the state badly hit by the haze.

According to the Department of Environment website, the air quality in Kota Tinggi, Larkin Lama and Pasir Gudang has improved to moderate levels while Muar remains slightly on the unhealthy level at 132 as of 11am.

Schools and kindergartens that were closed due to the haze from Friday reopened and parents seemed happy that their children were going back to school.

Lorry driver V. Anbalagan, 45, however is praying for more rain to completely clear the sky near his home in Masai.

"My children have been having breathing difficulties since the haze became worse last week," he said.

Housewife Rokiah Ismail, 34, also hoped for more rain to help cool the temperature.

She complained that she and her family were having difficulty sleeping due to the heat.

"The weather is so hot. I hope there will be heavier rain to chase the heat away," she said.

She also wanted the authority to take action against unscrupulous traders who hike the price of N95 masks.

"Previously, a box of 20 N95 masks at a shopping complex in Desa Tebrau was RM100 but on Monday, the price increased by 20 per cent to RM120," she said.

Meanwhile, 15-year-old V. Malini from SMK Dato' Penggawa Timur here said she was excited to go back to school to see her friends after skipping school for two days since last Friday.

"After being cooped up at home for the past few days, I am actually glad to come back to school," said the Form Three student.

Parent Rizuan Anuar, 36, said the school's temporary closure last Friday gave him and his son the opportunity to catch up on sleep.

"Everything is back to normal now that the haze is almost gone and we hope it stays that way," he said when met at SK Masai here.

Contractor Sia Siew Tiong, 38, said he still packed a couple of masks in his Year Four son's school bag in case the Air Pollutant Index reading goes up again.

"I do not want to take risks," he added.

Teacher Khamsan Omar, 53, of SMK Sri Gading in Batu Pahat meanwhile said it was not good to have long breaks because then the school would need to organise more replacement classes to make up for the missed sessions.