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Malaysia to focus cloud seeding operations in Selangor, Johor to reduce haze

Malaysia to focus cloud seeding operations in Selangor, Johor to reduce haze

Tourists look at the city skyline shrouded by haze in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Sep 11, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Lim Huey Teng)

GEORGE TOWN: Malaysia will focus its cloud seeding operations in haze-affected states Selangor and Johor, which have recorded high Air Pollutant Index (API) readings.

Operations will begin at 11am on Monday at Subang airport, according to the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) on Sunday (Sep 15). 

READ: Malaysia to conduct cloud seeding in Selangor, where haze forces 29 schools to close 

READ: Malaysia sends half a million face masks to haze-hit Sarawak as 409 schools close 

As of 3pm on Sunday, the API readings in Tangkak, Johor was 258 and 118 in Bantin, Selangor. 

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

Singapore and Indonesia use the Pollutants Standards Index (PSI) to measure air quality, while Malaysia uses the similar Air Pollutants Index (API).

MESTECC's deputy minister Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis said that cloud seeding conducted in Sarawak on Thursday had successfully lowered the API readings in the state. 

Last week, air pollution levels in Sarawak spiked amid worsening forest fires in neighbouring Indonesia. 

READ: Minister concerned over allegations of burning on land linked to 'respected' Malaysian companies

READ: Stronger ASEAN cooperation needed to tackle haze, says Masagos as Singapore offers help to Indonesia

“Cloud seeding will only be possible if the atmospheric and cloud conditions are favourable," said Isnaraissah.

"We hope the conditions tomorrow would be better so that the cloud seeding process could be carried out more effectively." 

She added that haze in Peninsular Malaysia was also due to open burning in Sumatra, Indonesia apart from the Kalimantan as showed by data from ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC).

She explained that Malaysia, through Minister Yeo Bee Yin, had already offered assistance to help Indonesia to put out the fires but (the ministry) had not received any response.

“It is very important for us to address the issue from the real source of the haze … (because even) if we carried out the cloud seeding in our place (Malaysia), it can only reduce the haze temporarily. The smoke will return." 

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