Oh no, one of our most dreaded annual problems, the haze, is coming back :(
According to National Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, Malaysia is expected to experience transboundary haze from next month until October following the hot and dry weather in Sumatra and Kalimantan.
He said the haze might be moderate as the La Nina phenomenon was expected to occur within the same period and would bring rainfall in some parts of the peninsula.
“Based on a study, conducted by the Singapore-based Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC), the hot and dry weather (in Sumatra and Kalimantan) can cause peatland fires and the wind will push the smoke towards Malaysia and lead to haze. However, rain is expected to occur within the same period and may cause floods in several states, especially Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang, which will help reduce the impact of the haze,” he told a press conference at his office yesterday (Wednesday, 11th May).
Last year, the Indonesian forest and peat fires resulted choking smoke to drift across Southeast Asia, spreading to new areas and causing the Air Pollution Index (API) to breach the hazardous level in several states.
Some major events i.e. the Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon (SCKLM) 2015 were cancelled due to poor outdoor air quality. The haze also caused school closures across wide areas e.g. Sarawak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Malacca, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Kelantan as a health precaution.
As such, Indonesia has come under increased pressure from its neighbours to contain the annual “haze” crisis.
Wan Junaidi said the memorandum of understanding (MoU), signed before between Malaysia and Sumatra provinces, to tackle the perennial transboundary haze issues would not be implemented. Instead, the problem would be addressed through government-to-government (G2G) cooperation.
He said the ministry had accepted Indonesia’s explanation to discontinue the MoU because it seemed to be ineffective, as tackling the haze problems not only required cooperation from the local governments in Sumatra but also from the Indonesian Government.
As such, he said a technical meeting would be held on 30th May in Indonesia to discuss the instruments needed under G2G to tackle the transboundary haze problems.