Hot Days Ahead, Deforestation, Fires Add To Heat

Hot/Fire spot alerts from NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) showed a total of 57 hotspots the last seven days in Malaysia. With neighbouring Thailand experiencing huge fires currently, the possibility of transboundary haze is also high.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 – While a Thai media reported of haze and pollution arising from huge fires in the country and how it has sent many people in the country to hospital with respiratory ailments, neighbour Malaysia may not be in the same zone. Yet.

The country is nevertheless already experiencing very hot days, with promises of more hotter days to come, especially with reports of deforestation activities and hot spots (either fires or industrial activities) happening in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak. The city of Kuala Lumpur also marked a 120 late Tuesday on the Air Quality Index, considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.

While NASA’s Fire Information For Resource Management Systems (FIRMS) reported a total of 57 hotspots in the Peninsular and Sabah and Sarawak the past seven days, the World Resources Institute’s Global Forest Watch showed continued numbers of deforestation alerts.

Here are the deforestation alerts in several states, including Kedah, Pahang, Selangor and Kelantan.

According to Global Forest Watch, there were 7962 total alerts reported in the week from March 22 to March 29 in Gua Musang, Kelantan. The alerts covered a total of 97.64 hectares in primary forest and 0.5 hectares in intact forest.

In Baling, Kedah, there were a total of 6417 alerts reported in the week from March 6 to March 13, covering a total of 78.61 hectares with 11.35 hectares in primary forest and 3.02 hectares in intact forest.

In Pahang, there were 315436 total alerts reported between March 22 and March 29. The alerts covered a total of 3.9 thousand hectares.

In Selangor, according to Global Forest Watch, there were a total of 230 total deforestation alerts reported in the week from March 28 to April 4 this year, covering a total of 2.83 hectares with 0.58 hectares in a primary forest in Hulu Langat Selangor. For the period March 2 to March 29, there were deforestation alerts covering a total of 0.11 hectares in a primary forest.

There were 25,746 deforestation alerts reported in Hulu Langat, Selangor, Malaysia between 9th of October 2021 and 11th of April 2023covering a total of 316 hectares.

While GWF does not provide details of deforestation activities, any indiscriminate clearing of forest areas are known to have repercussions in the immediate and long term.

It has been proven that floods can be made worse by deforestation, and with the heat now on, it will be a different set of challenges for people, from worsening pollution to heat related ailments amid the reduced protection from disappearing rainforests in the region.