Penang smog due to cross-border pollution, says DOE

Penang’s Environment Department says the smog is a cross-border problem the state cannot prevent, but internal control measures may stop the situation from worsening. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, October 11, 2023.

THE smog that hit Penang recently was not caused by open burning in the state, but rather the wind movements that brought in polluted air, said Penang Environment Department (DOE) assistant director Norazizi Adinan.

He said this caused the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading to rise rapidly compared with the average reading contributed by vehicle smoke and industrial areas.

“The air quality monitoring stations in Seberang Perai and Seberang Jaya usually record relatively high levels, but this is due to the industrial area and vehicles passing through Seberang Jaya every day.

“This area is quite ‘dense’ with air pollution. However, it is at a moderate level compared with other areas in the state with better (API) readings of about 30-40.

“If there are external factors that contribute to the smog, we will quickly reach the reading of 100,” he said when met by reporters at the Seberang Perai City Council Sports Complex today.

Norazizi said the smog was a cross-border problem and could not be prevented, though internal control measures could stop the situation from worsening.

He said so far, no open burning hotspots have been recorded in the state except for one false alarm involving a factory in the Bukit Minyak industrial area detected via satellite.

Norazizi said from January 1 until yesterday, the DOE received 376 complaints of open burning, most of which were in neighbourhoods, not agricultural sites.

“We urge the people of the state not to start open fires.

“We also hope the residents can cooperate with monitoring government agencies so the situation does not worsen,” he said.

DOE data showed as at 2pm today, two areas in Penang had good API readings – Minden (49) and Balik Pulau (48) – while two areas recorded moderate API readings – Seberang Perai (55) and Seberang Jaya (55). – Bernama, October 11, 2023.

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