Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Haze worsens

KUCHING: The haze in Sarawak has worsened with seven major towns registering unhealthy air quality yesterday. The worst affected was Sarikei, while the air quality in Sri Aman and Sibu has got worse.

Petra Jaya, Kuching, Kapit and Samarahan also recorded unhealthy air quality.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan said yesterday that winds from Typhoon Xangsane from the north were blowing the haze from Kalimantan to Sarawak.

"Kalimantan now has a large number of hotspots. The haze from these hotspots was being blown southward into Sarawak by the typhoon," added Dr Chan, who is also the state disaster and relief management committee chairman.

He said that forecasts by the Meteorological Services Department indicated Sarawak would continue to be blanketed by the haze for some time.

"Borneo is going to have dry weather over the next 10 to 14 days and this means more open burning in Kalimantan.

"At the same time, there is a prediction of another typhoon somewhere in the north in three to four days. This means Sarawak will have hazy conditions when the new typhoon blows the smoke from Kalimantan," he said.

As at 11am yesterday, the air pollutant index (API) for Sarikei shot up to 175, from below 100 on Sunday.

As for Sri Aman, it went up from 123 on Sunday to 157 as at 11am yesterday while Sibu, which enjoyed moderate air quality over the past week, now has a reading of 158.

Dr Chan said the prevailing hazy conditions were not caused by local open burning.

"We had four cases of local burnings on Sept 30 and two on Sept 29. There was none on Sept 28," he said.

He also said the state government and the Meteorological Services Department were planning to conduct cloud seeding to induce rains over certain areas of Sarawak.

"When we can do this depends on the availability of a military aircraft," he said, adding inducing rains would help to lessen, but not totally get rid of the problems caused by the haze as it came from Kalimantan.

Dr Chan wanted schools in Sarawak to avoid conducting outside activities in view of the haze conditions.

He said there had been an increase in the number of patients seeking treatment for asthma and other haze-related illnesses in Bintulu, Miri, Sri Aman and Kapit.

Meanwhile, there was no cancellation or disruption of MAS flights to and from Kuching yesterday.

However, the national carrier cancelled four flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching on Sunday due to poor visibility.

Getting worse and worse this haze. damn hot, dry and smelly all day. here's some pics of the condition in Kuching taken just now.
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Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
both taken in satok area. though it might not seem bad from the photos, believe me. it's terrible. the smell of smoke every morning it's suffocating. it's sick. and the usually beautiful morning view of the city is covered with a thick layer of smoke each morning. and it's DAMN HOT!!! thank goodness i have air-con in my class. if not die liaw. can't even take my exam.

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