KUCHING: The air quality in Miri is now hazardous with the Department of Environment’s (DOE) recording an Air Pollutant Index (API) reading of 389 as of 8am.
According to the department’s website, the API reading at its ILP Miri monitoring station in Bandar Baru Permyjaya breached 100 around 10 pm last night and continues to plummet this morning.
An API reading of between zero to 50 is good, 51 to 100 is moderate, 101 to 200 is unhealthy, 201 to 300 is very unhealthy, while above 300 is considered hazardous.
The reading was at 91 as of 10pm last night before hitting 136 at 11pm, rising drastically to 215 at midnight and into the hazardous category at 2am.
DOE’s SK Kuala Baram 2 station has also breached the unhealthy level this morning, at 123 as of 8am.
It is believed that the poor air quality in Miri is as a direct result of forest and peat soil fires now raging in Kuala Baram.
It was reported on Thursday that the fires had spread from an initial 150 hectares on Aug 3 to over 600 hectares.
Strong winds and dry weather over the past week have contributed to the rapid spread of the blaze.