KUALA LUMPUR – The haze worsened yesterday, especially in parts of Sarawak and the Klang Valley, with the number of areas recording unhealthy air quality readings rising from five at 9am to 16 by 6pm.
Sarawak was the worst hit state with the three highest Air Pollutant Index (API) readings â€“Samarahan (182), Sri Aman (177) and Kuching (163).
The smog, which occurs almost yearly, is caused by land and forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia
An API reading of between 100-200 indicates an unhealthy air quality, 201-300 is very unhealthy while anything above 300 is hazardous. An API of below 50 denotes good air quality while a reading of between 51 and 100 is considered moderate.
The haze also delayed two flights at the Kuching International Airport, grounded helicopters and disrupted ferry services.
Six of the eight areas measured in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Selangor recorded unhealthy air quality.
The highest reading was in Batu Muda, Kuala Lumpur, at 120, followed by Banting (116), Petaling Jaya (115), Shah Alam (114), Port Klang (112) and Putrajaya (108).
The air quality in all three areas listed in Negri Sembilan were unhealthy â€“ Nilai (138), Seremban (127) and Port Dickson (107).
Malacca also recorded unhealthy readings with 115 for Bukit Rambai and 104 for the historic city.
In Johor, Pasir Gudang and Larkin Lama recorded unhealthy API readings at 113 and 107 respectively.
Perlis, Sabah, Terengganu, Penang, Pahang, Kelantan, Kedah and most parts of Perak, meanwhile, recorded either good or moderate air quality readings.
In a statement, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said satellite imagery showed 328 hot spots in Sumatra and 18 in Kalimantan.
â€œMalaysia is urging Indonesia to take immediate action in handling the rise in the number of hotspots and to raise efforts to put out the fires,â€ said Wan Junaidi.