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Malaysia on alert as smog cancels flights, prompts health warnings (dpa German Press Agency)

by September 13, 2015 Aviation

Kuala Lumpur/Jakarta (dpa) – Malaysia’s maritime and aviation
departments on Sunday issued warnings over poor visibility caused by
the worsening haze in the capital and elsewhere.

At least two international flights were diverted during the past two
days due to poor visibility, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said.

He added that some maritime activities would be suspended if
visibility drops below 1 nautical mile or 1.8 kilometres, but he did
not specify what would be affected.

The smoky haze hovering over Malaysia is caused by the ongoing
plantation and forest fires in the nearby Indonesian provinces of
Sumatra and Kalimantan, where open burning to clear lands is common.

The environment department said Sunday the air pollution index in
Kuala Lumpur and in almost all areas on the peninsula have reached
unhealthy levels.

But the health ministry said there had been no marked increase in
respiratory ailments due to the worsening haze. It warned residents,
especially those with asthma, to avoid the outdoors or to use a face
mask when going outside.

In Indonesia, at least 19 flights to and from Pekanbaru, on Sumatra
island, were cancelled Sunday and tens of others were delayed due to
the thick smog.

Visibility at the airport dropped to 300 meters at one point early
Sunday before improving later in the day, an airport official told
local media.

The haze is also blanketing Singapore, according to reports.