Haze: Govt to declare emergency if API breaches 500

Haze: Govt to declare emergency if API breaches 500

KUALA LUMPUR: The government reiterated that an emergency will be declared if pollution caused by the haze forces Air Pollutant Index (API) reading to hit the 500 mark.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change Ministry (MESTECC) said this in its National Haze Action Plan yesterday.

API readings of 101-200 are considered unhealthy, 201-300 are very unhealthy and any reading beyond 300 is hazardous.

Raging forest fires across Indonesia are said to be responsible for the current transboundary haze that has also engulfed Singapore and Brunei.

The pollution has forced thousands of schools in Malaysia to stop classes.

According to the action plan, outdoor activities should be stopped once API readings are in the unhealthy band. No open burnings are allowed.

Enforcement will be increased and cloud seeding activities will start.

Warnings will be issued if an area’s API reading enters the very unhealthy range. All kindergartens and nurseries will be closed immediately, the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) will be activated for round-the-clock monitoring, and all land activities will be halted. Cloud seeding activities to continue.

In the 301-400 band, the public will be directed to remain indoors and to protect themselves with facial masks when going outside. All gas-emitting activities will be restricted including industries. Cloud seeding continues.

Once the API exceeds 500, Nadma will advise the Prime Minister’s Office to declare an environmental emergency. All non-essential work and activities are to be halted by law.

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