Worsening API Readings: Johor Is Ready: Johor State EXCOs

Johor State EXCOs are encouraging the public to be aware of the expected haze to come

Ling Tian Soon and K. Raven Kumar wearing face masks, while monitoring Johor’s API - photo credit AH SOON’s Facebook Page

Following the recent unhealthy Air Pollution Index (API) readings, all public hospitals in Johor are ready to accept more patients.

Ling Tian Soon, chairman of the State Health and Unity Committee, stated that the decision was made based on previous haze-related experiences.

“The Johor State Health Department also advises the public to not engage in outdoor activities, drink a lot of water, and for those who have breathing problems, we encourage them to wear face masks,” he told reporters at a press conference when surveying the Larkin area.

In a related development, State Tourism, Environment, Heritage, and Culture Committee chairman K. Raven Kumar stated that a meeting would be held with the Johor State Education Department to discuss the steps to be taken in response to the unhealthy air quality situation.

“In terms of safety, we advise the public to get readings via (the) MyIPU (application)… if possible, reduce outdoor activities, especially those involving schoolchildren,” he said.

Dato’ Wan Abdul Latiff Wan Jaffar, Director General of Environment Malaysia, mentioned in a statement that the DOE has increased enforcement actions and daily patrol activities in areas with the potential for open burning activities, as well as monitoring IPU readings from time to time.

The National Open Burning Action Plan and the National Haze Action Plan have been activated to coordinate the actions of Government agencies in dealing with the issue of open burning and dealing with the country’s haze situation.

According to the National Haze Action Plan, if the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading exceeds 200, schools may be closed, and if the API reading exceeds 100, all activities outside the classroom must be halted.

All land owners are advised to closely monitor areas that are easily and frequently burned, such as landfills, forests, peatlands, fields, agricultural, and industrial areas, and take measures to prevent encroachment by irresponsible parties causing open burning either on purpose or by accident.

The public is advised to view the latest hourly IPU readings which can be consulted on the Department of Environment (DOE) website at the url address, http://apims.doe.gov.my/ or by downloading the official MyIPU smartphone application on ‘Google Play’.

The public is advised to visit the website of the Ministry of Health Malaysia (www.moh.gov.my) to obtain health advice and preventive measures during haze.

The public is reminded not to commit open burning or allow irresponsible parties to enter or invade their land or premises to cause open burning for a specific purpose or by accident. 

According to Section 29(A), Environmental Quality Act 1974, those convicted of open burning can be fined not more than RM500,000 or imprisoned for a period not more than 5 years or both. A maximum compound of RM2000 can also be imposed for each offence.

The public is asked to cooperate in extinguishing small fires and also to report cases of open burning or fires to the Department of Fire and Rescue Services at 999 and the Department of Environment (JAS) at the toll-free line, 1-800-88-2727.

As of 1st October at 4pm, the API reading for Larkin in the MyIPU app was 155, and an API reading of 133 was recorded in Batu Pahat, Johor.