Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Haze Punishes Malaysia Kaw-Kaw

Photos posted by Sweden’s ambassador to Malaysia, Dag Juhlin-Dannfelt, showed Kuala Lumpur covered in haze on September 09, 2019. Image credit: Twitter/@DDannfelt

This Klang school, Sekolah Kebangsaan Kampung Johan Setia, was one of the 538 schools in the state of Selangor to close its gates on September 18, 2019 – due to haze. Image credit: Miera Zulyana

The haze enveloping Malaysia is so dense and depressing that one of our cities had earned the dishonorable distinction of being infamously named “the most polluted city in the world”. 

On Tuesday, Kuching in Sarawak grabbed this ignoble title when its air quality, as measured by the US Air Quality Index hit 214. Kuala Lumpur was #2 with an AQI reading of 174. 

This was according to the US-based website World’s Air Pollution: Real-time Air Quality Index: 

In fact, two days earlier, Kuching had already achieved that notoriety with an AQI of 202. 

And on September 11, 2019, it was Kuala Lumpur that clinched the top spot, thanks to an AQI of 165. 

Understandably, this unkind ‘accolade’ is not something to be proud of. In fact, it is abhorrently deplorable and appallingly disgraceful. 

For those fortunate enough not to be living here, know that the air is really bad. So bad that the powers-that-be have ordered schools to close. 

On that same Tuesday, a total of 671 schools were closed – the breakdown was as follows: 659 government schools in Selangor (201), Sarawak (298), Negeri Sembilan (112), Perak (23) and Putrajaya (25) – and 12 private schools (New Straits Times, September 17, 2019). 

One day later, as at 1:00 PM, this number had ballooned to 1,484 schools involving over one million students in seven states – these were Selangor (538), Sarawak (337), Perak (303), Penang (162), Kuala Lumpur (66), Negeri Sembilan (53) and Putrajaya (25) – as the haze situation rapidly regressed (New Straits Times, September 18, 2019). 

[Note: An API reading of zero to 50 indicates good air quality; 51 to 100, moderate; 101 to 200, unhealthy’ 201 to 300, very unhealthy and 300 and above, hazardous]. 

If this persists, before long, Malaysians will believe that blue skies are nothing more than a myth.

We are racked with despair. Every year, it's the same story!

Please lah, Malaysians really cannot "tahan" anymore!

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