Haze sends air quality to unhealthy levels

PETALING JAYA, June 25 — There was no mistaking the burnt smell in the air and the dreary skies here yesterday — the haze is back.
According to the Meteorological Department, the haze had reduced visibility yesterday afternoon to just 600m in Petaling Jaya, 2.5km in Subang, 4km in Sepang and 5km in Batu Embun, Kuantan. A normal visibility range is 10km.
As for the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading, only Banting recorded an unhealthy level at 5am but 12 hours later, the air quality deteriorated in five other places — Nilai’s API reading was 105, Port Klang (110), Batu Muda (122), Cheras (102), Putrajaya (114) and Banting was highest at 127.
An API reading of 101 to 200 is deemed unhealthy; 201 to 300, very unhealthy; and 301 and above, hazardous.
The haze is believed to be mainly caused by forest fires in Sumatra, Indonesia. According to a satellite image from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at 9am yesterday, there were 129 hotspots in Sumatra and 15 in Malaysia.
Kuala Lumpur City Centre is seen through the haze in Kuala Lumpur June 24, 2014. — Picture by Yusof Mat IsaKuala Lumpur City Centre is seen through the haze in Kuala Lumpur June 24, 2014. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department director-general Datuk Wan Mohd Nor Ibrahim said only two of the hotspots were major fires — one at Km25 of the Elite Expressway, the other at Sungai Tinggi, Hulu Selangor.
The 40ha peat fire at the Elite Expressway started on Friday evening and firefighters have been battling the flames ever since. In Sungai Tinggi, the fire started on Sunday and has since spread from 3.2ha to 4.9ha.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak advised people to remain hydrated and stay indoors if possible.
“As the haze is back, keep yourself properly hydrated, stay indoors if possible and avoid strenuous outdoor activities,” he tweeted yesterday.
Health director-general Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said cases of respiratory illnesses were expected to rise during this dry season.
He advised the public to stay indoors and drink water as much as possible.
However, he stressed that people should not use the dry season and haze as an excuse to take sick leave when they actually did not get enough rest because of watching late night World Cup matches. 
credit to malaymail online.com