October 11, 2023
KUALA LUMPUR – Visibility in the West coast and Southern parts of Peninsular Malaysia remains low due to the poor air quality, says Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.
The Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister said although most parts of the nation were currently experiencing wet weather, changes in wind patterns during the monsoon transition period could result in transboundary haze.
“If the winds blow from the Southwest and Southeast, haze due to fires in the neighbouring country has the potential to cross over to our country.
“Visibility distance at several meteorological stations remained somewhat low over the last few days, particularly in the West and South of Peninsular Malaysia as well as in Western Sarawak.
“The average visibility distance in these areas is between 3km and 10km while visibility in other areas is above 10km,” he said during a ministerial explanation on the current haze situation affecting the nation.
The minister, however, said that cloud seeding would only be considered if the haze situation persisted with the air quality deteriorating to a reading of between 151 and 200 on the Air Pollutant Index (API).
This, he said, would be the case if there was no rain for more than seven days in a row, resulting in maximum average temperature rising to between 31°C and 33°C.
Meanwhile, Nik Nazmi said that there was an increase in asthma cases by 2.5 times from Oct 1 to 7 based on data from the Health Ministry from seven out of 15 health facilities located in haze-affected areas.
During the same period, he said that eight out of 11 health facilities saw upper respiratory tract infections increase by two-fold while five out of 11 health facilities saw an increase in cases of conjunctivitis.