The people in the Indonesian city of Dumai, Riau have voiced out their concerns at the return of the haze, which has caused the pollutants standard index (PSI) in the area to reach to a hazardous 776.
Authorities have also forced schools to be closed and residents were urged to stay at home, while port officials issued warnings to ships as visibility dropped to 50m.
The latest bout of haze has been attributed to the “dry weather and open burning” in Sumatra. Mainly caused by forest and plantation fires, at least four districts have been declared a state of emergency.
This could only mean bad news for residents in Malaysia and Singapore as the haze is expected to worsen here over the next few days.
Although the PSI for Singapore is still within the good range, people are starting to detect the haze smell in the evenings and early mornings when there is less movement in the air.
Malaysia’s API readings in the Department of Environment website this morning showed Port Klang’s readings have already reached an unhealthy level of 110. Hence, Malaysians should be prepared for the worst.
An API reading of between 0 and 50 is considered good; 51 to 100, moderate; 101 to 200, unhealthy; 201 to 300, very unhealthy; and 301 and above, hazardous.
The API is calculated based on five major air pollutants, namely sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ground level ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter with a diametre below 10 micrometres (PM10).
Most of these pollutants come from sources such as industries, motor vehicles, open burning and power generation.
The concentrations of these five pollutants are measured in 52 automatic air quality stations throughout Malaysia, mainly located in industrial and urban areas.
Here are several things you can do to keep the haze from affecting you – Try to avoid outdoor activities, close all windows, doors and openings that may allow haze to enter, use an air purifier, drink lots of water, take medication regularly and limit smoking.