This time every year (September), Malaysia has to put up with some bad air quality. Today I think is the worst Air Pollution Index reading so far. But I have yet to see anyone donning a face mask. However, the haze could be a challenge for people with respiratory problems, young children and senior folks.
To give you a better picture of what I'm saying, below is the API for today courtesy of DOE Malaysia.
As you can see, the bottom half of the peninsula on the west coast is experiencing unhealthy air quality - indicated by yellow. A reading of between 100 to 200 is considered unhealthy. Kuala Lumpur, the capital city, is smack in this region.
Dry weather conditions and land-clearing (for planting) by open burning in Sumatra (Indonesia) is the source of this annual bother. Sumatra is just across the body of water (The Straits of Malacca) from Malaysia, so it's small wonder that we get the brunt of the smoke aided by the south-westerly monsoon winds. (A little digression here - there are boats plying bother shores just to give you an idea of the proximity between both lands.)
Over in East Malaysia, Kuching (109 reading) and neighbouring towns in Sarawak are also experiencing the same fate - as can be seen on the image above.
So, if you are visiting Malaysia this time of the year, expect some intermittent hazy weather conditions though ours may not be as bad as sandstorms of the Middle-east (a recent one just two days ago, for instance) or the (perennial) haze over in Beijing.
On the hand, what's not to love about Malaysia! There's shopping (lots of it), there's food (lots of it to try too), plenty to see and do. By the way, our next festival coming up is the Mooncake Festival also known as the Lantern Festival locally. This falls on 27 September.
Welcome to Malayysia!
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