Malaysia Haze Update: Future looking a bit Hazy

We haven’t seen Malaysia Haze breach the “very unhealthy” API (Air Pollutant Index) levels since 2015, but here we are again. Sarawak has been forced to cease school classes after readings of 248 but reopened yesterday. Fortunately, Sabah has yet to suffer readings beyond 100 due to literal greener pastures.

The Malaysia haze this year descended on the start of August and is predicted to persist till the end of September. Malaysians already can’t remember what the skies used to look like without fuzzy skylines and browning landscapes.

Above 300 and our air will be classified as hazardous. Before that happens, our Malaysia’s Department of Environment has banned open burning with a fine of RM 500, 000 or a 5 year jail sentence. Thanks to director-general Norlin Jafaar and Environment Quality Act 1974, we can do our part to aid in our country’s health by alerting the DOE (03-88891972 or 1-800-88-2727).

For your reference, here’s the link to updated API readings in Malaysia: http://aqicn.org/here/

National Disaster Management Agency has sent 500,000 surgical masks to Sarawak to aid our children in the battle against ozone, carbon monoxide, cyanide, ammonia, formaldehyde, acrolein and benzene polluted air. However, this misleads the rakyat that this is all the measures that should and can be taken. Sorry to bust the myth but 3-ply surgical masks last for a maximum of 60 minutes once it’s coughed or sneezed in. Masks that retain moisture, especially made of cloth, increase risk of infections. We urge the rakyat to not fall for the false sense of security that we fixate on our one and very mediocre effort.

4 Seasons In Malaysia
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Staying indoors helps in that we do not exert ourselves outdoors but long periods in the house with minimal ventilation can cause a harmful toxic build-up. We’ve been conditioned to accept the short-term effects of the toxic air we breathe, however, suffering through this annual occurrence for the past 2 decades has increased the risk of cancer and shortened life spans besides permanently affecting our lung and heart conditions.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin has urged Jakarta to accept our aid in suppressing the fires and assured Malaysians that they will begin cloud-seeding efforts as soon as possible. Our hearts go out to those severely affected: Sarawak, Rompin, Pahang (228), Johan Setia, Klang (197), and Jabungtimur, Indonesia (335). Let’s hope for clearer skies as September comes to a close.

Malaysia Haze covering over Kuala Lumpur.

The recent rainfall has also provide a short period of haze reduction. When asked if there are any plans to conduct cloud seeding operation in Selangor, It is told that the current condition is not suitable for cloud seeding. “We hope the rain will continue so that it can give some relieve to hard-hit areas such as Johan Setia in Klang,” according to Jailan Simon, who is the Malaysian Meteorological Department director-general.

Let’s just hope that the Malaysia Haze will be over anytime soon. Stay indoors and wear a proper mask such as the n95 mask to reduce the air pollution from entering the lungs.

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