Air pollution in Malaysia
Haze has been an ongoing problem in many countries in the Southeast Asia region, and Malaysia is one of the worst affected. The main cause of this haze is the slash and burn practice by farmers and peat fires blown by the wind from Indonesia. especially Sumatra, which mainly affects the Peninsular Malaysia and Kalimantan, which mainly affects East Malaysia. A state of emergency was announced once in 2005 at Port Klang as the Air Pollution Index (API) went above the 500 level. Malaysia is working with the Indonesian authorities to help curb peat fires. Malaysia and Indonesia, together with other members of the ASEAN community, signed the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution in 2002 as a result of a 1997 haze. However, Indonesia is the only country that has not ratified the agreement. A repeat incident in 2005 and 2006 has forced Malaysia and Singapore to pressure Indonesia to ratify it.
Air Pollution Index
The air quality in Malaysia is reported as the Air Pollution Index (API). Four of the index's pollutant components (i.e., carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide) are reported in ppmv but PM10 particulate matter is reported in μg/m3.
This scale below shows the health classifications used by the Malaysian government.
- 0-50 Good
- 51-100 Moderate
- 101-200 Unhealthy
- 201-300 Very unhealthy
- 301- Hazardous
If the API exceeds 500, a state of emergency is declared in the reporting area. Usually, this means that non-essential government services are suspended, and all ports in the affected area are closed. There may also be a prohibition on private sector commercial and industrial activities in the reporting area excluding the food sector.
2005 Malaysian haze
The 2005 Malaysian haze was a week-long choking smog-like haze over Malaysia that almost brought the central part of Peninsular Malaysia to a standstill, prompted crisis talks with Indonesia and caused widespread inconvenience. The haze was at its worst on August 11, 2005. This was a comeback of the haze crisis which last hit Malaysia in September 1997.
- Vijay Josh (2005-08-11). "Indonesian forest fires again cause haze in Malaysia". Associate Press. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
- "Malaysia Seeks Talks with Indonesia Over Haze". CriEnglish. 2005-08-11. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
- Gerald Giam (2006-10-13). "Haze problem: Bilateral pressure on Indonesia works best". Singapore Angle. Retrieved 2008-08-03.
- Air quality at the Department Of Environment