Penangites told to stop open burning activities as haze returns

Audrey Dermawan

GEOGE TOWN: The Penang government has advised the people against engaging in open burning activities in light of the worsening haze situation in the state.

As of 3pm today, the air pollutant index (API) readings on the island recorded a moderate level of 96 in Minden and 93 in Balik Pulau.

However, the API readings on the mainland showed an unhealthy level with 120 in Seberang Jaya and 109 in Prai.

An API reading of 0 to 50 indicates good air quality; 51 to 100, moderate; 101 to 200, unhealthy; 201 to 300, very unhealthy and 300 and above, hazardous

State Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh also advised the people to keep watch on their lands and to prevent from open burning activities. He warned that stern action could be taken against the perpetrators.

“With the API reading reaching the unhealthy level, we hope the people can refrain from open burning activities to further aggravate the situation.

“Failing which, action can be taken under Section 29(A) of the Environmental Quality Act 1974. Those found guilty can be fined a maximum of RM500,000 or maximum five years’ jail or both, upon conviction.

“A maximum RM2,000 compound can also be slapped for each of the offence,” he said.

Phee said the haze in Penang was a result of the cross-border haze pollution from Kalimantan and Sumatera in Indonesia, no thanks to the southwest monsoon wind.

Meanwhile, Phee also advised the people to reduce outdoor activities and to don face masks if they are outside.

“We have prepared 20,000 masks to be distributed to the people. We also advise the people to consume more liquid during this hot spell,” he added. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd