Borneo Island 2006 - red hotspots are the burning areas
We interrupt normal programming to bring you breaking news. Holy Smoke! *Gasp!*Sarikei has the dubious honour of having the highest air pollution index (API=183) in Malaysia. No thanks to the south westerly winds that blew the smoke from the hotspots in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Sarawak government will order the closure of all schools if the API reaches the hazardous 300 level. 240,000 out of the 1M face masks to be given free to the public have been distributed to affected areas. Where is the rain when you needed to dance in it? Cloud seeding by Royal Malaysian Air Force Hercules aircraft had failed to induce rain due to the lack of moisture-laden clouds.
Sarikei Bon Voyage sign at Mile 1. 2006. Normal day ("Before")
Sarikei Bon Voyage Sign, Oct 2006 ("After"): The hazy aftermath (source: CS Loh)
Is this a romantic & misty Moon Cake Festival? No, this is the annual haze from agricultural burning of forests (picture here) and it's really bad this year. Education of the farmers by the governments is key. Respite will only come with the monsoon rain in mid Oct. Rain, rain, don't go away, little children want to play. Meanwhile, smoke gets into your eyes.