Air quality in Miri remains at hazardous level, Health Dept warns people to stay indoors

Sulok Tawie
A general view shows residential and commercial buildings shrouded in haze in Kuala Lumpur August 10, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUCHING, Aug 11 — Air quality in Miri remained at hazardous level as of 4pm today, with air pollutant index (API) reading recorded at 395 at the Industrial Training Institute (ILP) station.

The API reading as of 4pm yesterday at the ILP station, located close to the border with Brunei, was 390.

According to the Meteorological Services Department’s hourly record of air quality, the API reading in Miri city was registered at 95, an increase from yesterday’s 78.

Malaysia’s API has five categories of air quality. Hazardous levels are readings above 300 while 201-300 is considered very unhealthy; 101-200 is unhealthy; 51-100 is moderate and everything below 50 is good.

The API readings for other towns in Sarawak as at 4pm are Bintulu (77), Mukah (86), Kapit (63), Sibu (77), Sarikei (73), Sri Aman (86), Samarahan (93) and Kuching (86).

State Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) spokesman said firemen are still battling to contain wildfires which have destroyed about 21 hectares of peat swamp in Kuara Baram over the last nine days.

The spokesman said smoke from these wildfires have contributed to the hazy conditions in Miri.

In Mukah, bushfires, which began four days ago, have destroyed about 43 hectares of land, contributing to the poor air quality in the surrounding areas.

He said another 35 cases of wildfires were reported as of 5pm today, bringing the total number to 276 since August 1.

Meanwhile, state Health director Dr Jamilah Hashim said peat swamp fires, oil palm fires and bushfires have contributed to the hazardous air quality in the northern Sarawak.

“As such, the department urges the people in northern Sarawak to take steps upon themselves to reduce the effects of haze on their health,” she said.

Dr Jamilah said among the steps that can be taken is reducing outdoor activities and always remain indoor, drink at least eight glasses of plain water a day and wear mask if they must go out.

She also reminded those who are suffering from cough, asthma, red eye, chronic lung infection and fever to visit the clinics if their conditions are worsening.

“If there are signs that you are suffering from certain kind of sicknesses and haze-related sicknesses, like painful and water eyes, itchy throats and non-stop coughing, watery nose and difficulty in breathing or experiencing chest pain, you must go and seek medical treatment immediately,” she said.

Dr Jamilah said further information can be obtained from www.myhealth.gov.my or www.infosihat.gov.my on haze-related sicknesses.

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