KUALA LUMPUR: Eighteen areas in several states in the Malay Peninsula and Sarawak recorded unhealthy air pollutant index (API) readings as at 9am Saturday (Sep 12).
Besides Sarawak, the affected areas were Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak and Selangor, stated the Department of Environment (DOE) in its website.
Batu Muda, Kuala Lumpur recorded the highest API reading of 162, followed by Port Klang (161), Samarahan (158), Shah Alam (157), Petaling Jaya (148), Kuala Selangor (147), Kuching (142) and Nilai (141).
Other areas were Sri Aman (136), Banting (134), 132 in Seremban, Cheras and Putrajaya, Jerantut (120), Bukit Rambai (108), Seri Manjung (107), Port Dickson (106) and Bandaraya Melaka (101).
An API reading of between 0 and 50 is categorised as good; 51 to 100, moderate; 101 to 200, unhealthy; 201 to 300, very unhealthy; and 300 and above, hazardous.
Meantime, cloud seeding will only be conducted if the API in a certain area reaches unhealthy level for 72 consecutive hours.
Malaysian Meteorological Department (MET) director-general Datuk Che Gayah Ismail, said it is part of the Standard Operating Procedure set in the National Haze Action Plan.
"So far, no areas have recorded unhealthy API consistently for 72 hours, but MET is prepared should the need for cloud seeding arises," she told Bernama.
She added that there are conditions for implementing cloud seeding, among them are condition of unstable atmosphere, high water vapour content in the atmosphere as well as presence of high and big towering cumulus cloud.
Nonetheless, with dry clouds and little formation of cloud with potential to bring rain, cloud seeding will be a wasted effort, she said, adding that each cloud seeding operation costs between US$11,500 and US$18,500.