34.6 C
Brunei
Sunday, July 3, 2022
34.6 C
Brunei
Sunday, July 3, 2022
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    Brunei’s air quality remains at ‘good’ level

    Hakim Hayat

    Air quality in Brunei continues to be in the ‘good’ range in the last two days, despite neighbouring countries registering unhealthy levels of air pollution as the prevailing dry weather and hotspots in the Indonesian provinces of Sumatra and Borneo continue unabated, transporting transboundary haze smoke into the region.

    As of 4pm yesterday, all four districts registered good Pollutant Standard Index (PSI) readings, with 22 for Brunei-Muara District, 44 for Belait District, 15 for Temburong District and 36 for Tutong District.

    The ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) in its haze situation update last evening said that dry weather persisting over the southern ASEAN region is causing extensive smoke haze over many areas.

    It also stated that persistent hotspots continue to be detected in central and southern Sumatra, leading to a build-up of moderate to dense smoke haze that has been carried by the prevailing winds to Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore.

    In Kalimantan, moderate to dense smoke haze continues to emanate from persistent hotspot clusters in South, Central and West Kalimantan, with some of the haze drifting over to western Sarawak and the adjacent South China Sea area.

    ASMC is also forecasting generally dry conditions to prevail over the southern ASEAN region in addition to worsening hotspot activities and transboundary haze over parts of the southern ASEAN region, including Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Sarawak.

    Despite clear skies observed in the country the past two days following last week’s hazy conditions, the Brunei Darussalam Meteorological Department warned that as the prevailing wind remains from the southwest, transboundary smoke haze is likely to return to the country, while generally dry conditions are expected in Brunei.

    However, heavy showers or thundershowers are likely to occur at times, reducing the haze condition temporarily.

    For years, Southeast Asian nations have been affected by annual haze occurrences that are typically caused by slash-and-burn agricultural practices in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

    Indonesian Minister for Environmental Affairs and Forestry Siti Nurbaya Bakar last Sunday said that efforts to fight fires were ongoing at all hotspots, with an ‘integrated firefighting’ method developed.

    Siti Nurbaya added that 99 per cent of the forest and land fires in the archipelago were caused by human activities.

    “We will not tolerate those who start these fires on purpose. We will continue to pursue the culprits and take stern action,” she said.

    In Sarawak, half a million face masks were distributed as air pollution levels rose.

    The air pollution index (API) in Sarawak reached unhealthy levels yesterday with one district recording a reading of 201, a ‘very unhealthy’ level that was also recorded in five other Malaysian states.

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