Malaysia to begin cloud-seeding to clear air

2015-09-15 19:07
Smoke envelopes a peatland forest hit by fire in western Aceh province's Tripa area located in Indonesia's Sumatra island. (AFP)

Smoke envelopes a peatland forest hit by fire in western Aceh province's Tripa area located in Indonesia's Sumatra island. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kuala Lumpur - Heavy haze forced Malaysian authorities to shut schools Tuesday in three states and two key cities as aircraft were to begin cloud-seeding operations to induce rain to help clear the air.

Indonesia intensified efforts to extinguish the forest fires that cause the haze, which blanketed parts of the archipelago and neighbouring countries. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo ordered agencies to use all means, deploying more troops, to overcome the haze.

The thick, dirty white haze is an annual phenomenon mostly caused by fires illegally set to clear land for farming.

A plane equipped with chemicals to release in the air that will help clouds produce rain was due to fly over Kuala Lumpur and surrounding areas, said Maznorizan Mohamad, a meteorological department senior official. A second aircraft was scheduled to fly over Kuching in Sarawak state on Borneo island.

She said the cloud-seeding is planned for three days but will depend on cloud availability and weather conditions. The inter-monsoon season is expected to start in late September, bringing more rain over peninsular Malaysia to clear up the haze.

"It will bring temporary relief but whatever it is, we have to address the source of the problem," she said.

Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency dispatched 1 250 troops to the most stricken province of Riau on Tuesday, one day an emergency was declared due to the air quality in the peat-rich province.

The agency said 600 officers of an elite police force would follow Wednesday to South Sumatra and Jambi Central Kalimantan and Riau. Last Friday, 1 059 military personnel were sent to help snuff out fires in South Sumatra.

Some 34 of Malaysia's 52 air quality stations recorded unhealthy air levels early Tuesday. Malaysia's education ministry earlier ordered schools in Kuala Lumpur, government administrative capital Putrajaya as well as Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Malacca states to close on Tuesday.

In Singapore, air pollution reached very unhealthy levels. Organizers of this weekend's annual Formula One night race are keeping a close watch on the situation to decide whether it will be safe to race.

The Singapore Grand Prix has always been held at this time of year, and while there has been some haze in past years due to the forest fires, it has never prevented the race from going ahead.

Read more on:    indonesia  |  malaysia  |  fires

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.