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Children at langkawi International Airport seen wearing face masks due to the unhealthy API reading. Pix by SHAHRIZAL MD NOOR.
Children at langkawi International Airport seen wearing face masks due to the unhealthy API reading. Pix by SHAHRIZAL MD NOOR.
A motorist wears a face mask in Alor Star as the state records very unhealthy API reading.
A motorist wears a face mask in Alor Star as the state records very unhealthy API reading.
An aerial view of George Town covered in thick smoke. Pix by MUHAMMAD MIKAIL ONG
An aerial view of George Town covered in thick smoke. Pix by MUHAMMAD MIKAIL ONG
The Penang bridge is hardly visible due to the worsening air quality. Bernama photo.
The Penang bridge is hardly visible due to the worsening air quality. Bernama photo.

KUALA LUMPUR: The haze situation in the country continues to blanket at least 6 areas with very unhealthy level reading as of 5pm.

The latest Air Pollutant Index (API) reading published by Department of Environment show Bakar Arang in Sungai Petani recording the highest reading of 249, followed by Seberang Jaya 2, Perai at 239.

Other areas with very unhealthy API are Alor Star (237), Langkawi (235), Kangar (224) and areas near Universiti Sains Malaysia (210).

In view with the worsening haze situation in the northern states, the Education Ministry in a statement today, ordered schools in Penang, Perlis and Perak to be closed tomorrow. For Kedah, the ministry said, schools will be closed as its a weekend holiday. Kedah practises a weekend holiday on Friday and Saturday.

The ministry added schools closed today in N. Sembilan, Selangor, Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Bentong in Pahang; Kuching, Sri Aman, Samarahan and Betong in Sarawak to reopen tomorrow:

Meanwhile, 22 areas recorded unhealthy readings with Perai (184), SK Jalan Pegoh, Ipoh (169), Seri Manjung (167), Kampung Air Putih, Taiping (152) Port Klang (154) Jalan Tasek, Ipoh (150), Kuala Selangor (148), Sri Aman (135), Shah Alam (131), Tanah Merah (123), Tanjung Malim (124), Tanah Merah (123) Samarahan (122), Kuching (119), SMK Tanjung Chat, Kota Baru (118), Balok Baru, Kuantan (114), Banting (109), Petaling Jaya (107), Kemaman (106)Putrajaya (105), Batu Muda, Kuala Lumpur (103), Tawau (101).

The worsening haze could affect one's health, as being exposed to it could lead to acute and chronic health diseases, which could result in death.

Environmental Health and Research fellow of the United Nations University-International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH), Professor Dr Jamal Hisham Hashim was quoted saying that a study published international journal Nature claimed that outdoor air pollution contributed significantly to premature deaths around the globe.

“Health impacts of air pollution are a function of dose as well as duration of exposure to air pollutants.

“We know the dose or level of particulate pollutant has attained hazardous levels of more than 300 in API (Air Pollutant Index) some time ago,” he told the New Straits Times.

An API of between 0 to 50 is considered good, 51 to 100 (moderate), 101 to 200 (unhealthy), 201 to 300 (very unhealthy), 301 and above (hazardous).

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