SIBU: The air quality here has deteriorated overnight as the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading climbed to 172 as of 9am today compared to 103 as of 7pm last night.
Haze shrouded most parts of the town – filling the air with the smell of smoke.
Reduced visibility was also noted along the Rajang river.
On Friday, Sibu had the fourth highest API reading in the state.
In a barely a month, haze had returned to the riverine town.
Sibu Rural District Council (SRDC) had called on residents under its jurisdiction to refrain from opening burning especially backyard burning to clear their garden waste to avoid compounding the situation.
“It seems that the API index has been increased since last week throughout Sarawak. So, I urge those residents under SRDC’s jurisdiction not to do any open burning especially at their backyard and garden to reduce the localised haze and smoke.
“Council will join other agencies such as Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) and Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) to monitor the situation and prevent open burning especially backyard open burning,” SRDC chairman Sempurai Petrus Ngelai pointed out.
Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye had advised those with respiratory problems to wear face masks when going out.
“Patients with respiratory and heart disease are more vulnerable (to hazy conditions),” he told The Borneo Post when contacted recently, while also reminding people to drink more fluids.
Meanwhile, other places with unhealthy air quality API reading as of 9am today are Sarikei (170), Miri (158), ILP Miri (140), SK Kuala Baram 2 (114) and Mukah (105).
Three places recorded very unhealthy air quality with Kuching having an API reading of 231, Sri Aman (230) and Samarahan (207).
Elsewhere, in Sarawak, moderate air quality were recorded.
An API reading of 0 to 50 is considered healthy, 51-100 (moderate), 101-200 (unhealthy), 201-300 (very unhealthy), and 301 and above (hazardous).