Klang haze not caused by Riau fires

KUALA LUMPUR - The unhealthy Air Pollutant Index (API) readings recorded in Port Klang, Selangor, for the past two days is not linked to the haze caused by forest fires in Riau, Indonesia.

National Weather Forecast Centre director Muhammad Helmi Abdullah said the haze could have been a result of a forest fire that occurred in the area, with the situation further aggravated by the dry spell.

At noon yesterday, the API in Port Klang recorded an unhealthy level of 103, which increased to 107 by 5pm. In Putrajaya, the API reading was 102 at 4pm but dropped to 94 an hour later. An API reading of between 100 and 200 is unhealthy, while a reading of between 51 to 100 is moderate.

Helmi said the haze in Riau was not likely to hit Malaysia, as the northeasterly winds was expected to push it away from the country.

"API readings in Port Klang, which is in the unhealthy category, is a result of the current dry spell. It was mostly caused by forest fires in parts of the Klang Valley."

Authorities in Riau declared a state emergency on Thursday due to raging forest fires that served to disrupt flights and marine navigation.

There was also a sharp rise in respiratory problems in the Indonesian province.

Malaysian Meteorological Department (JMM) director-general Datuk Che Gayah Ismail told Bernama on Wednesday that the haze in Malaysia was not connected to the recent eruption of Mount Sinabung in Sumatera, or other outside factors.

She said the hot and dry weather, coupled with the lack of rainfall for several days, has only made the situation worse.

"This time, the haze is caused by domestic sources. The lack of rainfall has also caused gas, dust, ash and particles to float in the atmosphere and not fall to the earth."