Satellite surveillance detected persistent hotspots with moderate to dense
smoke haze in Sumatra and Kalimantan (1 Sept to 16 Sept 2019)

What is Haze?

Haze is an air-borne mixture of pollutants that included soot particles, carbon dioxide and other toxic gases such as sulfur dioxide. Haze pollution affects several Southeast Asian countries on a regular basis, notably Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei and to a lesser extent Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The condition  is largely caused by the burning of large tracts of forested land. The haze usually occurs during the southwest monsoon between June and September and becomes more severe during periods of the dry weather.

What is the Air Pollutant Index (API)?

A method of reporting air quality. Calculated by measuring airborne levels of carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide.

Current haze status in Malaysia is mostly at unhealthy and moderate level at several places entire Malaysia indicating the highest API of 221 which is very unhealthy.

How do I check the latest API levels?

You can get the lates hourly reading at the Department of Environment website or you can download MyIPU Apps at your smart phone.

Group of people that are sensitive to haze

  • Children & elderly
  • People with chronic lung disease
  • Hear disease are more sensitive to the health effects of haze and should adopt the preventive measures in the MOH health advisory when air quality is poor.
  • Individuals are advised to consult their doctor should they develop breathing difficulties.
  • Pregnant women reduce exposure to haze for the health of their unborn baby. 

The effect of haze

  • Irritation of the eyes, nose and throat in healthy individuals.
  • Haze particles can affect heart and lungs, especially in people who already have chronic heart or lung disease e.g asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heard failure.
  • There may be up to 1-3 days of time between exposure to haze and health effects symptoms.

Long term effect

  • Cardiovascular effects, such as heart attacks
  • Reduced lung development
  • The development of chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma in children.

Action during haze

  • Those suffering from disease such as cough, colds, asthma, eye disease, heart disease or chronic lung disease should come to the clinic immediately if the conditions worsens.
  • Reduce outdoor physical activities. If you need to be outdoor, wear suitable mask such as N95 respirator.
  • N95 sould be used by all motocycle riders, those working outside the building or in dusty areas as well as those identified as high risk groups.
  • Use air conditioning when traveling in your vehicle and select the recirculate air mode. Turn on the vehicle's headlight while driving in low visibility and reduces visibility.
  • Drink plenty of water at least 8 glasses a day.
  • Wash your hands and face with soap and clean water after attending / performing outdoor activities.
  • If the haze persists at a dangerous level, those at high risk advised to leave the area.

Can I still come to work?

Yes, it is still safe to work indoors during the haze. Outdoor work will have to be stopped if the API readings reach "unhealthy" levels (please refer table).

Who needs to wear a mask?

People with medical conditions such as heart disease and asthma,
If you are suffering from symptoms such as dry/sore throat, cough, shortness of breath.

What type of masks are suitable?

N95 respirator. Sugical masks are NOT suitable prorection against the haze.

Sources : Department of Environment