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Air in Malaysia...

Travel Forums General Talk Air in Malaysia...

1. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

Why are they burning in Sumatra? Is India responsible for any health issues associated with the burning?

2. Posted by Hien (Moderator 3906 posts) 11y

Hi Joz,

They are clearing the forest using the burning technique. And it is usually done during this time of the year. Plantations, big and small, that have old trees which need to be replanted with new ones are cleared using this method. Old trees will be chopped down and burnt. This is the cheapest way to do it. And the lack of enforcement of laws seemed to have encouraged them to do it for the past 10 years. Yes, it has almost become an annual event. The only question is how bad the haze is.

They are not too worried about it as the monsoon wind will blow the most burning smoke away from them to the neighbouring countries. And what do neighbouring countries get? Well, the haze that is hazardous to health if it continues for too long, and an apology from Indonesia. The people here have always wished that the apology could clear the skies above.

Keep yourself updated by checking out the local news in Malaysia.

Air Pollutant Index - Department of Environment

The Star
Bernama - Malaysian National News Agency
The New Straits Times


3. Posted by Hien (Moderator 3906 posts) 11y

Latest update:

The two districts at the coast facing Sumatra, Indonesia have recorded a sharp fall in the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading since this morning. Haze Emergency state for these two districts is expected to be lifted very soon if the API continues to stay below the 500 mark (which demands a haze emergency to be declared).

The smoke in the haze seemed to have been distributed out further to other towns today. API readings in KL today have risen, fallen, risen and fallen again today. Fortunately, the API for today was lower than yesterday. Another good thing is I can see the sun shining through the clouds (YES, I can see the clouds!!!) this afternoon.

As I type now, the skies above at my place (northern KL) seemed to have cleared quite substantially. There is no more smell of smoke, and the visibility has improved a lot to over 5km compared to yesterday's less than 2km. It was so much better than 3 hours ago.

We are now hoping that the skies will at least stay as it is now, if not cleared totally from the haze. :)


4. Posted by Hien (Moderator 3906 posts) 11y

Latest update on the haze in KL: 13 August 2005 at 1810hrs

The air quality in KL and its surrounding areas have almost return to it's pre-haze level. Air Pollutant Index readings for major towns have dropped sharply in today's 11:00am reading. The second reading for the day at 5pm has not been released yet.

API for KL for the past four days:

  • 10 Aug - 176 (11am), 276 (5pm)
  • 11 Aug - 321 (11am), 295 (5pm)
  • 12 Aug - 365 (11am), 276 (5pm)
  • 13 Aug - 103 (11am), n/a (5pm)

API Indications:
0-50 - Good
51-100 - Moderate
101-200 - Unhealthy
201-300 - Very Unhealthy
301-500 - Hazardous
>500 - Haze Emergency will be declared (no curfews)

Source: Department of Environment, Malaysia

I can see many happy faces today. The sky now is even better than what it was this morning (which was good), and the sun was shining brightly today. So that means hot hot day! I'm not really complaining though, as I'd rather be in the hot sun than be chocking in the haze. Visibility remains at more than 5km.

Hopefully things will at least stay as it is now until the fires in Sumatra, Indonesia are put out.

This update is brought to you by,
Hien (keeping fingers and toes crossed)

5. Posted by Hien (Moderator 3906 posts) 11y

API for KL for the past four days:

  • 10 Aug - 176 (11am), 276 (5pm)
  • 11 Aug - 321 (11am), 295 (5pm)
  • 12 Aug - 365 (11am), 276 (5pm)
  • 13 Aug - 103 (11am),
  • u
  • 73
  • /u
  • (5pm)

API Indications:
0-50 - Good
51-100 - Moderate
101-200 - Unhealthy
201-300 - Very Unhealthy
301-500 - Hazardous
>500 - Haze Emergency will be declared (no curfews)

Source: Department of Environment, Malaysia

This update is brought to you by,
Hien (keeping fingers and toes crossed) [/quote]

6. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

How dangerour is it?
I want you to uncross your fingers and toes and get an air mask...otherwise I want you to hold your breat until it passes ;)

7. Posted by Hien (Moderator 3906 posts) 11y


Quoting TheStar FRIDAY 12 August 2005


THE haze is air pollution caused by the existence of tiny particles suspended in the air.

What constitutes the haze?
THESE include particulate matter (PM), which is defined as particles found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke and soot, ranging in size from 2.5 microns to 10 microns, and chemicals such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, nitric oxide and other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH – chemical compounds formed by the incomplete combustion or carbon-containing fuels such as wood, coal, diesel, fat or tobacco).

How does one measure the severity of haze?
FIVE pollutants are of particular importance due to the impact on human health – particulate matter (PM), nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and ozone. These five pollutants are also used in the computation of the Air Pollutant Index (API).

What are the individual effects of the various pollutants measured in the API?
The API is essentially a series of numbers expressing the relative levels of air pollution. It is used as an indicator of threat to human health.

The levels are as follows:
0 – 50 (Good)
51 – 100 (Moderate)
101 – 200 (Unhealthy)
201 – 300 (Very unhealthy)
301 – 500 (Hazardous)

What are the individual effects of the various pollutants measured in the API?
In general, air pollution affects the respiratory, circulatory and olfactory systems.

What are the general symptoms of those affected?
• Throat itchiness and coughing
• Irritated and watery eyes
• Itchy and running nose and sneezing
• Itchy skin
• Difficulties in breathing and/or breathlessness

Who is most affected by the haze?
• Children
• Elderly
• Those with chronic disorders involving the respiratory
and cardiovascular systems

What can you do?
• Being indoors will help, but if the windows are open, it's still the same. If you close windows and doors, the situation might be better. What would be very effective indoors is an air cleaner with a filter attachment that can trap particles smaller than 0.35 microns.
• Cloth masks are not sufficient protection when you're outdoors as the chemicals and small particles may still go through the material. It is better to use conical masks with thicker filters.
• Drink plenty of clean water.
• Stop smoking!
• See your doctor if you've any symptoms.


Carbon monoxide
• Reduction in the ability of the circulatory system to transport oxygen
• Impairment of performance on tasks requiring vigilance
• Aggravation of cardiovascular disease

Nitrogen dioxide
• Increased susceptibility to respiratory pathogens – more likely to suffer lung infections

• Decrement in lung infection
• Coughing, chest discomfort
• Increased asthma attacks

Sulphur dioxide / particulate matter
• Increased prevalence of chronic respiratory disease
• Increased prevalence of acute respiratory disease

Peroxyacetyl nitrate, aldehydes
• Eye irritation

Health Source:
1. Ministry of Health, Malaysia
2. A study of Health Impact and Risk Assessment of Urban Air Pollution in the Klang Valley, Malaysia,
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in collaboration with the Engineering Service Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia.

Source: TheStar FRIDAY 12 August 2005

There's no need to wear a mask now, as the air has been good since yesterday. I've only wore a mask once in this haze, which was on Thursday when the situation got really bad (the API was at hazardous level). Things were not really bad as the "hazardous" level sounds though. Your eyes and throat will be irritated and dry. People are still going around doing things (wearing a mask), although many have chosen to stay indoors instead and reduce outdoor activities as a self precautionary measure. The people really affected are mainly the elderly, children, and those with respiratory problem. The man on the street are basically okay while some did not even wear masks!

Now the haze had been carried away by the wind to the northern states of Malaysia. API readings for the the northern states have shot up since yesterday afternoon. The haze should have been blown back to Indonesia so that they can have a taste of what we've been putting up with for over a decade. Fortunately, the air quality in the northern states were not as bad as we experienced a couple of days back, as the wind have spreaded out the haze to a wider area, and some have been washed away by the rain in certain areas.

Hien - fingers and toes still crossed

8. Posted by summer910 (Respected Member 1342 posts) 11y

Hien, you're in KL too? I have a friend in KL, and she was griping about the air for the last week. The view from her office window was so fogged up, it was terrible. Glad to know that the situation is improving!

Now if only the Indonesian government would actually do something concrete to stop this annual burning session.

9. Posted by cikusang (Respected Member 1361 posts) 11y

Hien is such a pro-active individual! Always updating us and I learn that much from your postings especially the chemical substances. Thanks.

A few friends were returning from KL and addressed the same story: severe air pollution in KL and Selangor! And now the haze is moving upward to Penang and other Northern regions! (although the media reported it hasn't been bad in there plus rain yesterday..hope this human-made disaster would be a past history)

Seremban is getting much better and can even jog this morning!

Take care Hien and the rest Tpers in Malaysia and Indonesia.