Monday, March 3, 2014

Haze in Kuala Lumpur, Hazier in Penang

Dateline: Kuala Lumpur

If you are outside of a building today, it would feel like being in a giant pressure cooker. It's stuffy outside even though the sun is nowhere in sight. The air is still, the leaves too, of course. The haze is back, as if I'm heralding the start of Spring. Tsk. Though not as bad as the haze of last year, it could become worse in this dry weather. To add insult to injury, some parts of the Klang Valley are also hit by water rationing the result of low levels in the dams.

Here's a glimpse of the situation in KL. The picture below was taken this morning. Look, Ma, no Petronas Twin Towers as compared to the inset in which the KL skyline is clearly visible and the iconic twin towers glistening in the morning sun.

Hot spots in the area caused by the dry spell have been cited as the cause of this smog. Unthoughtful open burning has exacerbated the situation. What we need is a heavy downpour. Cloud-seeding is supposed to happen this week but there doesn't seem to be any clouds up there.

Let's take a look at Met Department's Air Pollution Index, it shows reasonably good readings except for Port Klang with a poor quality reading of 110, (highlighted yellow).

In Penang, it's no better or probably hazier than it is in Kuala Lumpur. The Star has the following image of the haze over at the Penang bridge but not sure if this is the main bridge or the new second bridge..

The Star reported that Penang's air turned hazier Monday although the Air Pollutant Index (API) has yet to breach unhealthy levels.

The API at 11am indicated moderate quality, but visibility has been reduced and there is a slight smell of the smoke.

Prai and Seberang Jaya recorded API readings of 88 and 94 respectively. Seberang Jaya had registered a reading of 64 at 5pm Sunday.

At Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), the reading was 79, compared with 59 a day earlier.

According to the Meteorological Department, visibility in Penang was at 4km, at 2pm.

An API reading of between 0 and 50 is considered good; 51 to 100, moderate; 101 to 200, unhealthy; 201 to 300, very unhealthy; and 301 and above, hazardous.

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