Thursday, October 17

Disaster management committee to meet tomorrow on peat fires, haze – Lee

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MIRI: The State Disaster Management Committee will be meeting tomorrow (Aug 14) to discuss the peat soil fires here as well as the haze situation, says Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin.

Lee, who spoke to The Borneo Post from Singapore, said the urgency of the current situation needed the efforts of all relevant authorities to resolve the issue.

“The peat fire is worsening the weather and the haze is choking the locals. It is time to take more aggressive solution against this,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Even though firefighters had managed to put out the biggest forest fire in Permyjaya on Sunday night, the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading for Kuala Baram areas remained high at 296 as of noon yesterday.

An API reading between 201 and 300 is classified as very unhealthy air quality.

Lee, meanwhile, reminded those with respiratory problems such as asthma, to remain indoors and, if necessary, reduce outdoor activity.

“The fine particles in the haze could be hazardous to those with breathing difficulties. It is best to remain indoors and to drink as much water as possible to stay hydrated. Wear face masks if necessary,” he said.

He also called on the public to refrain from doing any open burning to prevent the haze from getting worse.