As haze lingers, Selangor takes over from Pahang for worst air pollution

Justin Ong
Tourists wear masks as they walk past the Petronas Twin Towers shrouded in haze in Kuala Lumpur September 12, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 — Johan Setia in Selangor was “very unhealthy” according to the Environment Department’s (DoE) Air Pollution Index this morning, the sole location in Malaysia to be rated so after the smog subsided in Rompin, Pahang last night.

Johan Setia recorded an API reading of 213 at 10am today, having entered the “very unhealthy” band at 5am.

Elsewhere in Selangor, air quality remained in the “unhealthy” range, with the worst being in Kuala Selangor (139), Klang (136), and Shah Alam (132).

Tourists take a selfie as haze blankets Kuala Lumpur September 12, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

Further south, the haze in Petaling Jaya has receded, allowing the city to register an API reading of 125 that was marginally better than yesterday.

In Kuala Lumpur, API readings were 143 at Batu Muda and 125 in Cheras, with the latter reading representing that of the city centre. 

Putrajaya’s situation also improved, with an API reading of 127 today after the Malaysian administrative capital spent most of yesterday in the 150 range.

A man wears a mask as haze blankets Kuala Lumpur September 12, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

API readings in other parts of the country also indicate improved conditions this morning, with only one location in Sarawak — Sri Aman (159) — still in the “unhealthy” range.

Seri Manjung (143) in Perak and Balik Pulau (132) in Penang also stayed at unhealthy levels while other parts of the country either had “moderate” air quality or were on the cusp of returning to this.

No location in Malaysia was found to have “good” air quality, based on the DoE’s own measurements.

People wear masks as haze blankets Kuala Lumpur September 12, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

Indonesia and its neighbours including Malaysia continue to be locked in a diplomatic row over the regional haze, with the republic insisting it was not responsible for the now-annual phenomenon.

Yesterday, Jakarta accused Putrajaya of “covering up” Malaysia’s responsibility for its own poor air quality, insisting that the haze here originated in Sarawak and the peninsula.

The denial is contradicted by official satellite data that show a concentration of hotspots in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

General view of a hazy George Town September 12, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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