KUCHING, Sept 23, 2015: Malaysia is expected to upgrade its existing haze monitoring system in the next two years.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the current system had been in use for the past 20 years.
He said it had been used not only in the country but also in Asean member countries.
“Our readings are done professionally and shared among four other Asean member nations, prone to the annual haze problem,” said Wan Junaidi at a Press conference at Kuching International Airport today.
Malaysia is part of the five Asean member nations, sharing haze related information among the countries namely Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Brunei.
Wan Junaidi said the new system would analyse not only air pollutants in the air, but also include rainfall and sea level data meant for flood mitigation and flood forecast.
“People often dispute our readings during the time of haze. They have even alleged that we are giving false information to the people. But the data is shared throughout Asean and even other parts of the world.
“What the people do not understand is that poor visibility does not necessarily mean poor air quality and vice versa,” said Wan Junaidi.
The Air Pollutant Index (API) is an indicator for the air quality status at any 52 of the stations nationwide, calculated based on average concentration of air pollutants namely Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Ozone and Particulate Matter up to 10 micrometres in size or PM10.
Normally, the concentration of PM10 is the highest among pollutants and this will determine the API value.
“Our stations have successfully provided us with the information needed in the 1997 haze crisis in Sarawak and two years ago when the air quality hit 400 above the hazardous level in Johor,” said Wan Junaidi.
To manage peat land fires in the country, the government had also employed the tube well system in several peat land areas nationwide over the past two years.
“The haze does not respect borders, but come the dry season, dry peat land is prone to fire, which will contribute to the haze.
“We have been building tube wells in peat land areas to ensure stable moisture content over the past two years and it is still ongoing. This is also part of our haze management system,” said Wan Junaidi.