The number of hotspots in Sumatra has almost doubled within 24 hours, signalling the onset of the forest-burning season in Indonesia which inevitably shrouds Malaysia in a haze.
According to Meteorological Services Department environmental studies director Lim Sze Fook, satellite images showed 171 hotspots in Sumatra as at 2.58pm yesterday compared to 91 at 3.05pm on Saturday.
“Satellite images also showed five hotspots in Peninsular Malaysia on Sunday (yesterday) compared to none on Friday.
“Out of the five hotspots, two were in south-west Selangor,” he added.
“This wind speed (5-15kph) and direction is not expected to change significantly over the next 24 hours,” he said.
However, although the hotspots are on the rise, the Department of Environment’s Air Pollutant Index (API) did not register unhealthy air quality levels.
As at 5pm yesterday, 35 out of 51 areas in the country registered moderate API readings (50-100), with the highest reading of 78 in Nilai. The remaining 16 areas registered good API readings (0-50).
Lim said the visibility at 2pm yesterday in Prai, Butterworth, Sitiawan and Subang was between 8km and 9 km while it was more than 10km over the rest of the peninsula.
“There was also no rainfall recorded in the whole peninsula on Saturday and the weather is expected to remain generally dry with occasional isolated showers over inland areas,” he said.
In Penang, a dull, grey curtain still hung over the island’s major landmarks, reports CHRISTINA CHIN.
A check revealed that the Penang Bridge and Komtar tower were still shrouded in moderate haze yesterday.
According to the state Meteorological Services Department, visibility in the morning was 4km in Butterworth, 7km in Prai and 7km in Bayan Lepas.
“The situation is basically the same as on Saturday. We really can’t predict when the visibility will improve because that will depend on the pollution index.
“Normally in the afternoon, the haze will clear slightly because as the temperature rises, the pollution particles also rise higher into the air, improving visibility,” a department spokesman said.
Source : STAR
[tags : malaysiahotelnews hotels malaysia resorts news travel tourism travel vmy2007]