NPR : News

Filed Under:

Malaysia Declares Emergency From Cross-Border Blanket Of Smoke

Malaysia has declared a state of emergency in the country's south after choking smog from slash-and-burn agriculture in neighboring Indonesia enveloped the region.

Residents in Muar and Ledang districts of Johor state have been told to stay indoors. This comes after a similar order in Singapore last week.

Smog from Indonesia is a perennial problem in Malaysia and Singapore, but the pollution levels this year have hit record levels. The fires in Indonesia are set by palm oil producers clearing jungle for new planting.

Malaysian officials on Sunday said the Pollution Standards Index in Muar and Ledang had topped 700, more than twice the 300 level considered dangerous.

It's gotten to the point the smog has become a political and diplomatic issue, straining relations between Indonesia and its neighbors.

The BBC says:

"Schools in the region have been ordered to remain closed. Local authorities have distributed face masks to residents.

Even in Kuala Lumpur, where smog levels have so far remained moderate, visibility is now strongly reduced and the smell of thick smoke hangs in the air, correspondents say.

Kuala Lumpur resident Raj Ahmed told the BBC: 'You wake up in the morning and you can smell burnt wood - you look out the window and there is constant smog clouding the major landmarks that you would ordinarily see.

'If you go outside, it's like constantly standing close to a small barbecue.'"

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Why Did Vanity Fair Give 'Belfies' A Stamp Of Approval?

"Selfie" may have been the 2013 word of the year. But "belfies," or "butt selfies" are now in the spotlight. We learn more about why they earned a fitness model a spread in Vanity Fair magazine.
NPR

Plant Breeders Release First 'Open Source Seeds'

Scientists and food activists are launching a campaign to promote seeds that can be freely shared, rather than protected through patents and licenses. They call it the Open Source Seed Initiative.
NPR

Ohio's Law Against Political Lying Heads To Supreme Court

Can a state law prevent political campaigns from doling out misinformation? Guest host Celeste Headlee learns more from The Plain Dealer's Sabrina Eaton.
NPR

Ohio's Law Against Political Lying Heads To Supreme Court

Can a state law prevent political campaigns from doling out misinformation? Guest host Celeste Headlee learns more from The Plain Dealer's Sabrina Eaton.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.