The transboundary haze in Malaysia is likely due to agricultural activities and the dry season in the Mekong Subregion.
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You’re not hallucinating. It has been hot lately and the air quality is bad. The transboundary haze and hot spots are back and this time, the source is not from Indonesia.
According to Sinar Daily, the transboundary haze is likely due to the return of economic activities such as agricultural activities post Covid-19 in the Mekong Subregion, which comprises Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand.
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) geologist Dr Azmi Hassan said it started late last year during the start of the dry season in the Mekong region.
Universiti Malaya (UM) geologist Dr Mariney Mohd Yusoff echoed Dr Azmi’s claims and said there’s also forest burning in Thailand. The wind movement has now brought polluted air to Malaysia.
This is also likely why northern Malaysian states such as Penang, Kedah, and Perlis are the most affected.
In addition, the number of peat fires, open burning, and industrial activities in Malaysia does not help to improve the air quality.
As of 9am on 17 April, Cheras recorded the highest API reading at 151, followed by Seberang Jaya (Penang) at 145, and Segamat at 108.
An API reading between 0 and 50 is categorised as good, 51 to 100 is considered moderate, 101 to 200 is unhealthy, 201 to 300 is very unhealthy, and 300 and above is hazardous.
On Saturday, Natural Resources, Environment, and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad instructed the Department of Environment to monitor the API readings across the country, as reported by New Straits Times.
He also urged the department to increase enforcement on open burning and other activities that could contribute to air pollution.
It’s hard to predict when the haze and hot spots will stop, but it’s hoped that the rains and the change of winds will slightly improve things.
Meanwhile, the public is advised to avoid outdoor activities as the polluted air can badly affect health.