KUCHING, Sept 10 -- State Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has raised concerns over the neverending issue of haze occurring almost annually, saying that it may affect some sporting events scheduled by the state government in terms participants and spectators.
Abdul Karim who is also Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister said there would be many events organised in the next few weeks by his ministries and he expressed his hope that the haze would break away by then.
"It is just that as the minister overseeing tourism and sports, I am just not happy about this, because we have got so many events, in fact we are organising Spartan Race next month, franchised from U.S.A, to be held for the first time in Borneo.
"We are targeting 3,000 participants and until last week, we have reached 2,600, 60 per cent of them are foreigners... I don't think they like to see the haze, they are coming here to race in good environment," he said in his speech at the closing of the Sarawak International Open Tenpin Bowling Championship 2019, here, today.
Speaking to participants among others from China, Venezuela, Japan and Philippines, Abdul Karim explained that the haze is not an everyday occurrence in the state.
"It is seldom like this, it is just at a certain time of the year and it is not from us, but from our neighbouring country but being neighbours you cannot disagree with them too much.
"We keep telling them through diplomatic channel to please control the fires in your area as we are the one who is getting all the brunt," he said.
Today, a total of 406 schools in nine districts of Sarawak had been instructed to close after the Air Pollutant Index in some areas in the state surpassed 200, yesterday.
As at 4pm today, the air quality in the state had shown steady improvement with no more areas recording very unhealthy reading.
Sri Aman which recorded very unhealthy API reading of 202 at 8 am today, is now down to 182, while Kuching is lower from 167 to 138 and Samarahan is down from 132 to 119.
Ten locations remain with moderate API readings which is under 100, they include Sibu (85), S.K Baram (72), Mukah (70), Miri (71), Bintulu (73), Samalaju (66), Kapit (62), Limbang (53), Sarikei (84) and ILP Miri (66).