The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) in Pekanbaru, Riau, said that smoke from land and forest fires in several areas in Sumatra continued to cause the air quality to decline.
“The air quality in several areas in Riau has continued to decline. Currently, it stands between medium and low levels, which are considered unhealthy, or within a range of between 100 to 199 points on the Pollutant Standards Index [PSI],” the agency’s head of data and analysis division Slamet Riyadi told thejakartapost.com on Tuesday.
Thick smoke with strong smells blanketing several areas in Riau also reduced the visibility, particularly in the morning and the afternoon.
Based on monitoring results of the BMKG, the visibility in Pekanbaru and Pelalawan dropped to 500 meters on Tuesday morning. The visibility in Dumai and Rengat reached 2 and 3 kilometers, respectively.
“The smog-like haze, which loomed over several areas in Riau, came from provinces in the southern part of Sumatra. The wind is currently moving from the southern and southeastern parts of Sumatra to areas in the western and northern parts of the island, passing through Riau,” said Slamet.
He said Terra and Aqua satellites detected only four hot spots in Riau on Tuesday morning. Three hot spots were reported in three regencies, namely Indragiri Hilir, Indragiri Hulu, and Kampar, while the one remaining hot spot was detected in Pekanbaru City.
“Two hot spots were detected in Indragiri Hilir and Pekanbaru, with a confidence level of more than 70 percent,” said Slamet.
He said that smoke currently blanketing several areas in Riau was from land and forest fires in Jambi and South Sumatra, which had occurred during the last two days.
“Today, Jambi and South Sumatra reported 33 and 38 hot spots respectively, up from 107 and 79 hot spots the previous day,” said Slamet.
On Tuesday morning, Aqua and Terra satellites also monitored six hot spots in Bangka Belitung, followed by Aceh (3), Lampung (2) and Bengkulu (1).
“In total, there are 85 hot spots that are spread evenly in areas across Sumatra. Impacts of El Niño south of the equator are stronger than what happened last month. That’s why land in Jambi and South Sumatra is getting drier and easy to burn,” said Slamet.