GEORGE TOWN: Penang was shrouded in haze yesterday morning as the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings in the state hit the highest in the past week.
From 6am to 10am, the readings in Prai, Seberang Jaya and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) hit above 80, close to the “unhealthy” level of between 100 and 200.
At USM, the API was at 81, 84 and 83 at 8am, 9am and 10am respectively, while in Prai, the readings were at 84, 86, 88, 90 and 92, increasing steadily from 6am to 10am.
The API readings were the highest in Seberang Jaya at 90, 93, 95, 97 and 98.
Visibility was poor, with motorists on the Penang Bridge hardly able to see the island or mainland.
State Department of Environment director Datuk Hassan Mat said the state had one of the worst API readings in the country yesterday morning.
He said it was difficult to predict whether the air quality would worsen, but hoped for rain to clear the air.
“The current situation is not as bad as that in June, when the API readings reached the ‘unhealthy’ level at one point.”
Hassan said the causes of the haze were hot spots in Sumatra, Indonesia, and the wind blowing across the Straits of Malacca and moving northwards.
“We can only hope that rain will come, so that the air quality will improve and return to normal.
“For now, we advise the public to limit outdoor activities, wear face masks and refrain from carrying out burning activities.”
The API readings at other stations nationwide recorded “moderate” and “healthy” readings, except for one station in SK Jalan Pegoh in Ipoh, Perak, which recorded an “unhealthy” reading of 104 at 3pm yesterday.
Seri Manjung, Perak, which recorded an “unhealthy” reading on Wednesday, improved to a “moderate” reading of 93 yesterday.
Overall, 14 stations recorded “healthy” readings and 36 recorded “moderate” readings, compared with Wednesday’s 12 “healthy” readings and 39 “moderate” readings.
API levels of between 0 and 50 are rated as good, 51 to 100 as moderate, 100 to 200 as unhealthy, 200 to 300 as very unhealthy and more than 300 as hazardous