As of Wednesday, September 18, flight disruptions have been reported in Penang International Airport (PEN) following poor visibility due to hazy conditions (dust, smoke, and vapor) caused by large-scale forest and agricultural fires ongoing in Sumatra and Borneo Islands, Indonesia. So far, six flights have been delayed and the airport announced it will close if visibility drops below 800 m (0.5 mi).
The Department of Environment registered very unhealthy air quality levels in multiple locations along the west coast of peninsular Malaysia on Wednesday. The states of Selangor and Sarawak are the most severely hit, with an Air Pollution Indexes (API) reaching 395 in the city of Sri Aman at 20:00 (local time) on Tuesday, September 17.
On Wednesday, more than 1000 schools were ordered to remain closed across the country.
The National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) declared that cloud seeding operations will be carried out in Sarawak state on or after Thursday, September 19. On Thursday, September 12, similar operations successfully reduced API readings across the state.
The ASEAN Specialized Meteorological Center (ASMC) has forecasted that hazy conditions can be expected to continue in the region in the coming days with fires in Sumatra and Borneo islands persisting under the prevailing dry weather.
Malaysia frequently experiences air pollution (haze) caused by forest fires in Indonesia between June to October.
An API reading of 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 moderate, and 101-200 unhealthy.
Individuals present in Malaysia are advised to monitor Air Pollutant Index Management System (APIMS) updates and health advisories issued by the Malaysian Department of Environment. Seek medical assistance if needed and anticipate possible transportation disruptions.
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