Peat lands, forests and palm oil plantations are burning in Riau province, Sumatra. At this time of the year westerly monsoon winds blow from Indonesia across the Strait of Malacca to Malaysia.
Malaysia uses the Air Pollution Index (API) to measure air quality. The amount of sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and particulate matter in the air is used to calculate the API. A value above 100 is unhealthy. A value above 200 is very unhealthy. A value above 300 is hazardous. People are advised to stay indoors when the API is above 300.
In the past week the API hit 750 in Muar, Johor. The highest API in Malaysia in sixteen years. Readings in Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam nudged 200.
This was Kuala Lumpur a few days ago.
The air quality in Kuala Lumpur is not great at the best of times. For some years now there have been too many poorly-maintained diesel engined buses and lorries spewing black smoke, and too many poorly maintained two-stroke engined motorcycles spewing white smoke.
When my biker chick and I moved to Den Haag in 2010 we immediately noticed the clearer air there. I was later told that the air quality in the Netherlands is amongst the worst in the European Union. The Dutch may emit excessive amounts of nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide, but it certainly looks like they have less particulate matter floating about.
I dug up some photographs I took while riding in the Den Haag area to remind me of what clear air and blue sky look like.
The API this evening for Shah Alam is much improved compared to what it has been recently.
Tomorrow we ride!