Sabah suffers ill-effects of burning and haze

Bush fires causing severe haze in Bongawan near Papar in Sabah.
Bush fires causing severe haze in Bongawan near Papar in Sabah. PHOTO: THE STAR/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KOTA KINABALU • Thick smoke from open burning and bush fires is causing breathing problems as well as stinging pain in the eyes for people on the west coast of Sabah, which is bearing the brunt of a haze situation plaguing parts of Malaysia.

Madam Siti Sarah Hatam, 55, said the burning behind her house in Bongawan, some 73km from here, was suffocating and made breathing difficult for her and her children.

"It is hard to breathe. There is nowhere to get away from the haze because it invades our house," she said, adding that she hoped the weather would improve soon.

The mother of six had not been washing her clothes for the past few days due to the smoke, but decided to do it two days ago when she saw an improvement in the weather, The Star reported.

"The situation, however, worsened throughout the day and now all my clothes smell of smoke," said Madam Siti.

Chief Minister Musa Aman, who blames peat fires in the Binsuluk Forest Reserve in Beaufort and Kota Klias for the acrid smoke, has ordered cloud seeding.

Peat fires, first ignited last month, destroyed 200ha of the Binsuluk Forest Reserve and razed 20ha of the reserve area in Klias, forcing 77 schools to close for days.

Although the fires have been brought under control, the region remains enveloped in smoke.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2016, with the headline 'Sabah suffers ill-effects of burning and haze'. Subscribe