Wednesday, February 19

Haze: API reading breaches 200 again as air quality deteriorates to ‘very unhealthy’ level in Kuching


The API reading for Kuching has breached 200 this morning, indicating very unhealthy air quality. Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

KUCHING: The Air Pollutant Index (API) reading here has hit ‘very unhealthy’ levels at 221 as of 10am today.

According to Department of Environment’s website, the API rose steadily from 156 at midnight to over 200 in Kuching, with Samarahan not far behind at 195.

Other divisions such as Bintulu, Sibu, Miri and Sri Aman also recorded unhealthy API readings above 100.

The Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre’s website today shows that the current wind direction is responsible for the return of the smog as it sweeps up the haze from hotspots and carries it over major towns and cities in Sarawak.

Satellite imagery shows moderate to dense smoke haze emanating from persistent hotspots in the South, East, West, and Central Kalimantan provinces.

“In the southern ASEAN region, the dry conditions are forecast to persist, and winds are expected to blow from the southeast or southwest. Hazy conditions can be expected to persist in some parts of the region,” according to ASMC.

An API reading for good air quality is from zero to 50, 51 to 100 is moderate, 101 to 200 is unhealthy, 201 to 300 is very unhealthy and 300 and above is hazardous.

Meanwhile, the State Disaster Management Committee secretariat detected 14 hotspots in the state with three each in Sibu and Kapit, Miri (1), Limbang (2) and Kuching (5).

In Kalimantan, 1,307 hotpots have been detected in Kalimantan, while Sumatera recorded 221.

Members of the public are reminded to exercise caution by wearing N95 particulate face masks when outdoors and to minimise outdoor activities. Open burning has also been warned against by the authorities.