Justine Jok Jau Emang

KUCHING: Dust and ashes from the Mount Sinabung volcano, which erupted on Sumatra Island, Indonesia, is not likely to reach Sarawak.

Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) Sarawak Controller of Environmental Quality Justine Jok Jau Emang said the situation would most probably affect West Malaysia.

“This is because of the wind pattern, as it is blowing towards the southwest,” he told New Sarawak Tribune on Tuesday (Aug 11).

As of 5pm on Tuesday (Aug 11), the Air Pollutant Index (API) for most areas in Sarawak recorded moderate levels of 51 and above. This is resulted from the transboundary haze from Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Only Kapit recorded an API reading of 48 while Kuching recorded the highest API reading of 78.

For Limbang, it recorded an API reading of 56, Industrial Training Institute (ILP) Miri (53), Miri (61), Samalaju (57), Bintulu (64), Mukah (56), Sibu (60), Sarikei (65), Sri Aman (63) and Samarahan (66).

An API reading of zero to 50 is categorised as good, 51 to 100 is moderate, 101 to 200 is unhealthy, 201 to 300 is very unhealthy, and 301 and above is hazardous.

On Monday, Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) director-general Jailan Simon said ashes and dust from the Mount Sinabung volcano, which erupted at 11.37am, are expected to enter Malaysian airspace at the Melaka Straits as well as northern and east coast states of the peninsula.

He said the volcanic ash is also expected to affect Perak, Kedah, Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang.

He said however, the situation is not expected to affect the country’s air quality.