SHAH ALAM, Selangor: The Selangor state government in Malaysia will conduct cloud seeding operations in haze-affected areas where the Air Pollutant Index (API) exceeds 200, which is in the very unhealthy range.
Hee Loy Sian, chairman of the state's environment committee, said the decision was made at the Selangor Economic Action Council (MTES) meeting on Thursday (Sep 12).
In his statement, Hee said the disaster management committees at district and state levels were activated when the API recorded readings of between 151 and 200 for more than 24 hours.
The state government will also be supplying dust masks to members of the public.
To combat open burning and haze, Hee said Selangor will adopt the nationwide plans issued by the energy, science, technology, environment and climate change ministry.
This latest development follows the announcement that Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was writing to Indonesia's leader to raise his concern about cross-border haze, which has become an almost annual occurrence - especially in dry years.
Indonesian officials caused further anger in Malaysia this week by disputing reports that the smoke was coming from their country.
A total of 222 hotspots were detected in Sumatra, mostly in the Riau, Jambi and South Sumatra provinces on Thursday. In Indonesia's Kalimantan on Borneo island, 1,264 hotspots were detected.
Sarawak, which borders Kalimantan, carried out cloud seeding on Thursday.
As at 11am on Friday, the API in five locations in Selangor ranged from 103 to 141, which is in the unhealthy range.
Singapore and Indonesia use the Pollutants Standards Index (PSI) to measure air quality, while Malaysia uses the similar Air Pollutants Index (API).
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.
NO SCHOOL FOR 45,000 STUDENTS
The Selangor education department has said that a total of 29 schools in Klang and Kuala Langat will be closed on Friday, up from five on Thursday.
More than 45,000 students will be affected by the closure.
The state government advises the public to reduce their outdoor activities and keep up to date with information on air quality provided by the DOE.
“All schools, kindergartens and nurseries were ordered closed immediately when the API reading exceeded 200 after getting confirmation from the Selangor Department of Environment (DOE)," he added.