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The annual haze menace
BY: LYNDY ANG
Malaysians are donning masks everywhere not just because of rising Covid 19 cases but also because the annual haze is upon us as across the region fires rage creating smog and haze that cause the Air Pollution Index (API) to rise.
This is an annual visitation and not a new phenomenon as large tracts of forest are indiscriminately burnt after the harvest season using what planters describe as ‘slash and burn’ techniques to prepare the land for replanting.
This invariably causes the haze menace to be blown in different directions by monsoon winds to create health hazards and unhealthy air pollution leading to many people sensitive to respiratory diseases.
While, currently, most of the fires are raging in Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, its effects have spilled over to neighbouring Asean countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei owing to antiquated farming methods.
Back home, in Malaysia, the result is that three API stations have recorded unhealthy readings. According to the Department of Environment (DOE), the stations were Johan Setia in Selangor (143), Larkin in Johor (124) and Kota Baru (109) in Kelantan.
According to the Weather and Climate Services for ASEAN, there has been a steady increase in monthly hotspots and Malaysians have been advised to wear face masks, drink plenty of water and reduce outdoor activities.
-THE MALAYSIA VOICE
** The views expressed on this opinion is of the writer and not the publisher