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Malaysia’s regions hampered by transboundary smog

Six regions with severe pollution, Sarawak, Mukah, Sibu, Sarikei, Sri Aman, Samarahan, Kuching: Malaysian ministry

Nicky Aulia Widadio   | 19.09.2019
Malaysia’s regions hampered by transboundary smog FILE PHOTO

KUALA LUMPUR

Indonesian forest and peatland fires hampered Malaysia’s six regions leading to "very unhealthy" level of air condition, Malaysian environment ministry said on Thursday.

The regions with severe pollution included Sarawak, Mukah, Sibu, Sarikei, Sri Aman, Samarahan, and Kuching.

Kuching had the worst air quality index reaching the level of 272.

Meanwhile, the air quality in Kuala Lumpur was declared as "unhealthy" with index reaching the level of 143.

Based on Anadolu Agency observations in Kuala Lumpur, the haze was visibly thick and the sky was grey.

The local government tried to reduce the impact of haze by seeding clouds. The last artificial rain had fallen in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday afternoon.

Malaysian Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar said there were a total of six hotspots in Johor, Pahang and Terengganu on Sept. 17-18 based on satellite images of the forestry department, according to local media report by country's news agency Bernama.

"They are under control and were not the cause of the haze," said the minister.

All forestry departments including the ones in Sabah and Sarawak had been asked to intensively monitor and identify hotspots in the permanent forest reserve that could potentially contribute to the dangerous situation, he added.

The Malaysian Forestry Ministry has formed a special "Red Ant" team for fire prevention.

Due to the worsening air pollution index in seven Malaysian states, the education ministry closed 1,484 schools, with 538 schools located in Selangor, 337 in Sarawak, 303 in Perak, 162 in Penang, and the rest in Negeri Sembilan, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur, the reports said earlier.

A total of 1,003,310 students were affected by the closure, added the report.

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