With the current hot spell in Malaysia currently happening, it’s really just a matter of time until the air quality starts dropping. Luckily, there are stations monitoring the air quality. Seven mobile continuous air quality monitoring (MCAQM) recorded unhealthy Air Pollutant Index (API) readings on March 2, 4pm.
The locations are Johan Setia, Klang (188), Banting (167), Petaling Jaya (133), Klang (107), Shah Alam (104), Cheras, Kuala Lumpur (111) and Rompin, Pahang (133). While the reading falls under the Unhealthy category due to the dry and hot weather and also open fires, the API is essential for the government to take action to address the air quality.
It’s very easy to blame the reason for bad air quality and open burning very easily. However that’s not really the case since the current dry and hot weather makes these open fires very unpredictable.
The Kuala Langat Selatan Forest Reserve has been experiencing forest and peat fires. Only in certain areas of the 34 hectares reserve since Feb 24. That however caused quite an issue to those who are living in Klang Valley.
The burnings and no rain caused a haze to envelope the area which naturally causes the air quality to drop. Also with the dust particles which could potentially be hazardous to those who are experiencing breathing difficulties.
Forest and peat fires aren’t only the contributing factors towards the poor air quality. Since agricultural fires are also seen to be contributing to it. Five agricultural locations in Johan Setia, Klang also have seen open fires since early last month.
The Department of Environment (DoE) has also detected bush fires in Rompin in a 10-hectare area yesterday. While some occurrence is natural, some however isn’t. The DoE response to this is to take strict actions against landowners, landfill operators, and perpetrators who cause open burning.