On Sunday, the Malaysian government declared a state of emergency and ordered all schools in and around the capital, Kuala Lumpur, to stay closed on Monday as air pollution levels reached 16-year-highs. The air pollutant index (API) hit 750 - wayyyyyy above the threshold of 300 for hazardous air quality.
The billowy haze, which is now an acute problem in South-East Asia, is mainly caused by open burning in Indonesia for land clearing, in addition to other factors like hot and dry weather. Farmers in Indonesia regularly burn scrub and forest to clear land during the dry season for agricultural purposes
People are experiencing discomfort like sore throat and itchy eyes, and serious respiratory problems such as chest pains and breathing difficulty. Johor records over 100% increase in the number of asthma cases. Even with the windows and doors closed and the air-conditioner running on max all day, the acrid odour of burning wood from the vents permeates every room.
image credit - Buletin MutiaraStudents donning masks during assembly before schools in critical areas were declared closed
Dear Lord, please let it rain soon. Blue skies, I miss you!