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Department of Irrigation and Drainage Sarawak

Haze: Water bombing sends 60,000 litres onto Sri Aman fires
Posted on : 23 Sep 2019  Source of News: The Borneopost online
KUCHING: A water-bombing operation by Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) using the Bombardier CL-415 aircraft was carried out yesterday to put out forest and peat fires in Sri Aman.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said the aircraft was able to collect 10 loads of water from Sungai Lingga and dropped some 60,000 litres onto the burning areas across Kampung STC in Sri Aman.

“Today (Sunday)’s operation, which started at 8.15am and ended at 12.15pm, was successful. It will, more or less, help in putting out the forest fires and lowering the API (Air Pollutant Index).

“I would like to congratulate all the agencies who have been working hard in putting out the fires and carrying out cloud-seeding operations particularly Bomba (Fire and Resuce Department), MMEA, Malaysian Meteorological Department, Royal Malaysian Air Force, Malaysian Civil Defence Force, Malaysian Armed Forces, Kuching Water Board, Public Works Department, Department of Irrigation and Drainage, police and Sri Aman Resident’s Office,” he said in a statement.

Uggah, who is also State Disaster Management Committee chairman, pointed out that a similar operation had been carried out from Sept 18 to 21, but was unsuccessful as the aircraft could not carry out water-scooping.

He said one of the reasons that led to the failure of the operation was due to fishing nets found at the initial identified location for water-scooping, and that the locals did not give their cooperation in removing the nets.

Apart from that, he said there were also objects in the river that caused the operation to be halted as they could endanger the aircraft and its crew.

He also noted that Bomba later conducted an investigation into the matter and found that the objects were ‘pancang’ (spikes) that could not be removed.

Sri Aman remained the  area to be worst hit by haze in Sarawak as its air quality remained at ‘very unhealthy’ level throughout yesterday.

As at 6pm yesterday, its API reading was 196.

While it appeared that the haze situation in the division had improved when the API fell drastically from a ‘hazardous’ 404 at 8pm on Friday to an ‘unhealthy’ 104 at 7pm on Saturday, the air quality then took a turn for the worse and began deteriorating throughout the night.

By 9pm Saturday, the API reading was back up by 22 points to 126 and continued its upward trend – hovering between a ‘very unhealthy’ 202 and 205 between noon and 3pm.

An API reading for good air quality is from zero to 50; 51 to 100 is ‘moderate’; 101 to 200 is ‘unhealthy’; 201 to 300 is ‘very unhealthy’; and 300 and above is ‘hazardous’.

Meanwhile, the air quality in Kuching, although still at unhealthy level, improved yesterday from 137 at 9am, to 113 at 6pm.

Other parts of Sarawak where ‘unhealthy’ API readings were recorded at 6pm included Samarahan (120) and Miri (103).