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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 August 2005, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
Malaysia haze: Your experiences
Children protecting their faces from the haze
A thick haze has shrouded parts of Malaysia, including the capital city, Kuala Lumpur.

The government has declared a state of emergency in certain areas after air pollution reached dangerous levels, sparking serious health concerns.

The haze is a regular occurrence, but this year's is the worst since 1998, when Malaysia was affected for weeks. It is being blamed on forest fires in neighbouring Indonesia.

Are you affected by the air pollution in these regions? What do you think should be done about the problem? Do you think this year's haze could have been prevented? Send us your comments and experiences.

Do you have a picture to send? Email your pictures and video to: yourpics@bbc.co.uk

This page is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

This topic was suggested by Moo Huey Ming from Malaysia
How many more years are they going to "talk" about the haze and how many more people have to die before the authorities really "do" something to stop the intentional slash-and-burn practice?

I keep all windows close for my condominium while I am out for work. But after I finish work and get home, I can smell haze in my condominium. Same situation to someone at the office according to one of my close friend who works in Kuala Lumpur town centre. Also inside one of the biggest shopping centre you can see a "light" haze. Some friends, who are from another state of Malaysia, but work in Kuala Lumpur, are planning to make a trip back to their hometown for the weekend where they are not affected by the haze. According to the latest news, after Malaysian ministers have met up with Indonesian ministers, the Malaysian government are willing to offer whatever kind of help needed to put off the forest fire in Sumatra; the Indonesian officials response is they need more time to discuss about this matter in depth. Don't they see how bad the whole situation and condition is. The haze does not affect Indonesia much so their response is really disappointing.
Vincent Chiew, Kajang, Malaysia

Every year we have the same haze problem caused by the Indonesia forest fire. But this year it is worse. The Indonesian government should take action like preventing and monitoring forest fire before it get out of hand. They even seemed to do nothing about it.
Wan Kedah, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I believe the leaders of Indonesia and Malaysia should learn from their mistakes back in the haze of '97 as whatever measures they took back then to stop the problem certainly didn't stop it from happening again. As I type I'm having a horrible dry coughing fit, and to be quite honest, the dreariness is depressing. I'm in one of the schools that is remaining open and lets just say that this really isn't the best environment to be learning in, physically or psychologically.
Shirin, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The situation here is getting worse by the day. And yes, the Indonesian government is at fault to a certain extent and should show proof that they are indeed doing all they can to stop the forest fires, but I think the Malaysian government are to be blamed too. So far, I have not seen any actions besides verbal ones. We need swift and immediate actions probably by cloud seeding. Chairing meetings and declaring emergency states will not tackle the problem hands-on. Plus, the fact that the government has kept the Malaysian public in the dark over the Air Pollutant Index (API) only until recently when the situation has worsened so much has not given me a good impression on the governmental efforts.
Shean Lim, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

The governments of Indonesia and Malaysia are not doing enough
Andy, Subang Jaya, Malaysia
We are suffocating! It is certainly preventable as it is manmade. We are suffering for their profiting. The governments of Indonesia and Malaysia are not doing enough. They had 7 years since the last episode to formulate a solution but it seems that nothing has been done. Where is their fire monitoring system? Who were the culprits behind these fires? How can they get away with this year after year? Help us!
Andy, Subang Jaya, Malaysia

Up to this point, I have not heard the Malaysian government nor ASEAN slam Indonesia for their poor behaviour - that is the least we can expect from our elected officials. This is not the first time the Indonesians have resorted to large scale slashing and burning of their forests at our expense. I have a young sister who has developed respiratory problems because of this, as have many children, elderly and even able bodied individuals. Tourists are leaving, schools have closed, businesses are taking a dive. Why should we be the ones to suffer? Enough lip service and talk about helping put the fire out. Some kind of sanction and punishment must come into place - painful enough to make them think twice about repeating this yet again.
Ju-Lee Sandhu, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

900 fires burning? The local news at first reported 39. It was only when the API hit critical level that the local news reported that 50 ha of orchard in Sekinchan, Selangor is on fire. "It looks like someone deliberately set it on fire" said the fire department. The lack of information clearly left everyone in haze.
Kok, PJ, Malaysia

We should temporarily adjust our business or working hours from 8am to 4pm since the haze is getting worse at evening
Nick Ching, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
The haze become bad in the afternoon and turned worse in the evening till night. We should temporarily adjust our business or working hours from 8am to 4pm since the haze is getting worse at evening. Other than that, afternoon school classes should be cancelled. The health ministry should educate and create more awareness to the public by instructing the public how to prevent the illnesses caused by haze.
Nick Ching, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur

Forest fires may be a natural occurrence at times but honestly I think that Indonesia and Malaysia have to somehow combat this menace that seems to afflict us every year. Does anyone think that the forest fires occurring in Indonesia are natural forest fires or are they the results of greedy investors who are dying to get their grubby hands on the land itself?
Francis, Kuala Lumpur

For the whole day there was no sun; there were no midday shadows, everything was soft, in a yellow-tinged blur. Standing on the twelfth floor of my office looking out, it was as if I was surrounded by a sea of beige, the dotted houses below slowly decreasing in opacity to become a ghostly field of lung poison. Walking back from work, my mouth and nose was closed shut behind a mask - it masked the smell of "burnt matter", but my eyes had to squint. Now after six hours or so, my nose, probably too used to the smell, breathes clearly, except now the throat feels as if it needs to go on a coughing-fit.
Jun, Subang Jaya, Malaysia

The traditional method of "slash & burn" in clearing land for agricultural purposes during the monsoon dry season around this time has to be stopped and replaced by other less harmful ways. Both Malaysia and Indonesia governments, infamous for indiscipline and lack of will for enforcements of any laws and agreements usually, must take up the courage to enforce their agreements on banning this way of clearing land, which occurs annually. As I'm aware, both have met several times and agreements reached somehow these were never strictly enforced by neither party seriously. Next year, same problem arises, though with different degrees of damages. Each party always hope that the change of monsoon seasons will eventually solve the problem and limit the damages; sure it does eventually, but in the meantime, people suffer and financial losses perpetuate during this man-made natural disaster. Perhaps this sort of attitude is one of the natural characteristics of our two peoples?
TS Lau, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.

Its disrupting the daily life of the people here and is very harmful to health
Anisha Kalra, Selangor, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
The haze is really bad. We cannot afford to breathe without choking due to the haze caused by the fire burning at Sumatra. Indonesia have asked for help from Asean Countries and stated that response needs to be given within 24 hours. Hence all Asean members should lend out a hand to help Indonesia in putting off the fire immediately as its disrupting the daily life of the people here and is very harmful to health, especially to the children.
Anisha Kalra, Selangor, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

The haze definitely has affected me and it's getting worse everyday at Klang Valley. Today in Subang area, the haze is so bad that we couldn't see the road at all. Cars have to turn on their lights and the streetlights were switched on the whole day. So you can actually imagine how bad it is. We can hardly breathe and everyone is getting sick because of it. I was having a headache the whole day and feel like vomiting as well. Now, all I ask for is just some fresh and clean air. Desperado for fresh air.
Florence Chooi, Petaling Jaya

The fires in Indonesia are not caused entirely by small farmers. Small farmers cause small fires. The real culprits are investors taking advantage of the cheap land and labour available in Indonesia who wish to turn the forested areas into lucrative oil palm plantations. It is said that some of the investors include some wealthy Malaysians.
Miriam, Kuala Lumpur

Finally the world press is picking up on this piece of news. As of this post, there are 181 related articles found on Google News. Not only do Malaysian have to suffer with the drought and having their water rationed, they have to suffer the annual smog from their neighbour. As it's another country, the locals are powerless to prevent it. I hope the world press is able to step up the pressure on Indonesia to put an end to this non-controlled open burning.
Laurence Ewe, London, UK

The haze is getting worse everyday in Kuala Lumpur and I really pity those people who have respiratory disorders, especially children. This is a yearly affair and we have to pray that the monsoon rain will come and put out the large number of fires and reduce the haze situation. Indonesia is supposed to have strict laws with severe penalties for those who start fires.
Richard Kam, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Indonesia should be charged in the international court for pollution of the environment of the neighbouring countries, or else they will never learn. As long as some top people are willing to pay the poorer ones to burn the forest, things will never change.
Loh, Kuala Lumpur

The train system is no better as smoke is getting in at every stop
Chris Howells, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The haze here has settled for the last week or so, but has got very bad over the last couple of days. Yesterday we thought some rain in KL might clear it up a bit, which it did this morning. This afternoon, visibility right back down again. I work in the Petronas Twin Towers and from the level of the sky bridge you could only just make out the pool in the KLCC park. The buildings on the other side of the park were simply looming shadows. We were issued with masks for the smoke at work today - just as well since even in the shopping malls the smoke is very obvious. The train system is no better as smoke is getting in at every stop. It even makes it into the underground sections.
Chris Howells, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Yes, I am definitely affected. Now, my daily jogs are deemed as a health hazard in Kuala Lumpur, which is already showing a local Air Pollutant Index (API) of 181. This is within a range termed as "unhealthy". The hazy pictures emanating from Kuala Lumpur and the nearby Port Klang do not differ in clarity, and Port Klang has an API of 410. This has reached the hazardous level!
Mathew Maavak, Kuala Lumpur

What is Malaysia to do? We can hardly breathe. After four continuous days of the haze, I am having chest pains and my daughter who is five years old is bleeding from the nose for the third time today. This is killing us. Please help us.
Nancy Tan, Kuala Selangor

The last time the smoke was so thick that emergency measures were needed in Malaysia, the smoke spread across the region over a period of months and prefaced the 1997 currency crisis that led to long term effects across South East Asia.
Nigel Morris-Cotterill, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Enough talk...It's not like this is a new phenomenon, it's been happening every year. But it's really bad this time around as I can't even see across my street. The question is, what are the two governments going to do now to stop the fires and preventing the same thing from happening again and again? Maybe they should figure out a way to change the farming methods in Sumatra and get to the root of the problem once and for all.
Ellfian, Kuala Lumpur

I worked in Malaysia in Shah Alam in 1998 and remember how bad the air was then. Some days the sky would be orange as the sun filtered through the 'smog', other days you would have the constant smell of burning wood. Back in 1998 the Malaysian government would suggest wearing thin paper masks and to eat plenty of cucumber to help ward off any bad effects. Back then they didn't seem to care that much and would wait for the winds to blow the problem away. The Malaysian government knows why there is so much pollution yet do nothing to prevent it.
Mark Terrington, Northampton, England

Some schools and universities are selling masks at RM10 to earn money, while their students choose to brave the dangerous air pollution instead of spending so much on a mask which normally costs RM1.20 at a local pharmacy.
Mei, Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia

My eyes are burning and my throat is hurting
J Sulaiman, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Indonesia keeps saying sorry every time this forest burning occurs. I am living in Kuala Lumpur and visibility is minimal. My eyes are burning and my throat is hurting. School is cancelled, some business establishments are closed. I don't want to hear another apology from the Indonesian government anymore. I want to know what the Indonesian government will do to prevent this open burning from choking us Malaysians again!
J Sulaiman, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The current concern is how to put out the fires and to handle the haze. The government should be more transparent with the air pollution index so that the people can avoid affected places. It's not the time point finger now, it's the time to get all parties involved and work out a solution. Nevertheless, my greatest concern is the reciprocal and long term effect of breathing in smog of such high intensity.
Wang Min Jieh, Kuala Lumpur

The smoke haze is quite bad. I have been to Malaysia before and have never seen anything like this. It is difficult even to see across the street. It is difficult to be outside for long periods. I should note that I have seen worse in Australia though.
Andrew Punch, Chinatown, KL

At first, the sky disappeared from my view followed by various buildings. The Indonesian government should have acted faster to prevent such open burning from becoming as bad as this.
Lam Ruey Ming, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Is it night or day? I really don't know. I haven't seen the sun for nearly five days. Going out is not an option. The government should take action faster before this gets worse.
Mujahid Mansoor, Sunway, Malaysia

Of course we are affected by the air pollution created by our neighbour country- Indonesia. Schools have to declare holidays and our health are on risk if we want to go out without a mask. I think the Indonesian government should take immediate action, strict rules should be set to prohibit farmers from burning their farms. This problem has been faced by Malaysian citizens for many years but neither the Malaysian nor Indonesian governments have come out with a good solution.
Yap Kiat Loong, Klang, Malaysia

We are definitely affected by the haze. It is not something new. Being poor is not an excuse to create hardship for others. We understand the poverty in Indonesia but to use this primitive method to clear their land will not cause them to be rich. We also cannot understand how the Government in Indonesia can allow this to happen year in year out without educating their people on the hazards of burning as we have only this one earth to live in and our environment must be taken care of by all.
Tan K H, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

We must help the Indonesians as we are more on the losing end
Rifai Razi, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
The haze has reached us - in the State of Sabah (formerly North Borneo) in East Malaysia. The level is not as high (at least not yet) as in Peninsular Malaysia, maybe between the 50 and 100 bracket. Close cooperation between Malaysia and Indonesia is needed to tackle this problem. The fires currently burning must be extinguished by what ever methods and we must help the Indonesians as we are more on the losing end.
Rifai Razi, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

The haze in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur where I am staying is getting worse. My family is starting to have coughs and eye irritation. I am frustrated that the haze has become an annual 'event'. Adding to more frustration is that it is not caused by open burning in Malaysia but in Indonesia. The Indonesia authorities must put a stop to open burning in Sumatra as it affects the economy, health and everyday life especially here in Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding area.
A Reezal, Kuala Lumpur

I came back from work and my shirt smells heavily of smoke. Enough is enough. The Indonesian government must take serious actions to stop their people from burning their crops. We Malaysians can't be made to suffer because of their people's ignorance.
Md Riyadh Dahalan, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The haze has been an annual affair since 98 though varying in severity each year. This is the worse ever. If this is to be an annual affair, how can we be better prepared instead of waiting for the worse to happen and taking action then? You can't stop breathing. The respective governments should come up with solutions to prevent this occurrence though the main cause still boils down to economic, social and environmental policies. Poverty doesn't give many people choices. In the long run, it affects everyone globally.
Melisa, Klang, Malaysia

Everyday I wake up to the smell of smoke in my living room. I am afraid to open my window and being a teenager my room needs fresh air now and then. Not only that driving on the highway itself has become even more dangerous and for those with out cars are experiencing the worse of it. I think the Malaysian government should at least help Indonesia put out the fire because it is affecting our daily routine. Indonesian farmers also need to be educated on their actions that affects others, because if this pattern of disregard continues bilateral relations would indeed sour.
Amir, Cyberjaya, Malaysia

The air smells foul and leaves a stinging sensation at the back of the throat
Barbara Swiecicka, Bath, UK
I have been in Kuala Lumpur for the past week, visiting my husband who works here and have hardly seen the sun, as the smog has gradually increased. The Petronas Towers have been shrouded in dense smog since last weekend. The air smells foul and leaves a stinging sensation at the back of the throat. Smog is even infiltrating shopping malls and bars as doors open and close, so I have avoided leaving the hotel as far as possible. KL city is not the place to visit if you have a tendency to get chest infections, though apparently, Penang, Langkawi and the east coast resorts are not affected.
Barbara Swiecicka, Bath, UK

The haze has been with us for over a week now and it's only now being reported within the world press. If the press would step up and report this atrocity then perhaps Indonesia would clean up it's act. After all, this is not an isolated incident. Though it's worse now than many previous years, it's still a recurring event. The Malaysian government also needs to demonstrate that they can do more. No country should allow another country to endanger their citizens in this way.
Michael Sweeney, Selangor, Malaysia

I am on a business trip to KL in Malaysia and the pollution is unbelievable. I have been here a day and have a sore throat and eyes. Most people are wearing masks, but you can not get away from the smog. My heart goes out to the children of Malaysia because they can not venture outside.
Richard Brunt, KL, Malaysia

Some of us feel helpless negotiating our lives through these smog filled period. Activities outdoors are plain impossible. The moment one steps outside the house, the smell of smoke fills our noses and our throats starts to itch. And taking shelter indoors doesn't seem any better, I can still see the smog as I look around at the furniture in our house. Only in air-conditioned spaces can one find some bearable solitude from the grey and orange air hanging outside. This has become an almost annual event for us. The Indonesians MUST realise that their small conveniences are a major headache for millions of Malaysians.
Ilhadi Mustafa, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I live in Kuala Lumpur and we are severely affected by the haze. It feels that there is a big smouldering blaze very near my house. Visibility has been reduced to less than 500 meters in some areas including my neighbourhood. This matter of the haze has become an almost annual affair and the Indonesian authorities keep making the same empty promises. There should be a more concerted effort by them to stop the practice of open burning to clear their oil palm estates. Further the ASEAN community must exert more pressure on Indonesia to prevent and limit this form of mass destruction of the habitat and the effect the on lives of innocent people and the Malaysian economy.
Shankar Shanmugam, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

you find it difficult to keep your eyes open for long
Warish, Malaysia, Bandar Sunway
I haven't seen the sky for the past two days, not even the sun. It's becoming worse now and then, today being the worst. Its really difficult to see around, because you find it difficult to keep your eyes open for long.
Warish, Malaysia, Bandar Sunway

I am in Gombak district, just east of Kuala Lumpur. The visibility is just a few hundred metres. The university where my wife teaches has just closed down (5.00pm). You can even smell the smoke inside buildings.
Andrew Laing, Kuala Lumpur

The haze is affecting us quite badly, especially for those who have to work outdoors. Visibility is quite bad and the sun is hardly apparent. We're remaining indoors with schools shut down for 2 days. Surprisingly, yesterday there was a hailstorm in one of the worst hit suburbs, something unheard of in this tropical heat. Nothing much can be done in Malaysia except urging the government to assist the Indonesian Government in fighting the haze.
Zainudin, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The condition worsened after midday today. Visibility is estimated at less than 200m. People are advised to drive with their car headlights on. Our eyes our irritated and we are coughing after spending half an hour outside.
Mokhtar Hasan, Kuala Lumpur

The smog (or haze to use the local term) is absolutely awful and the orange hue to everything is very pronounced. Having spent on day in Cyberjaya - next to the new administrative city of Putrajaya, I have had a headache all day and my eyes and throat are very dry. The locals expect that the haze will disappear soon but everyone here is feeling the effects. Thankfully the tourist areas of Penang, Langkawi and the east coast are largely unaffected... so don't cancel trips. Malaysia needs tourism and is a wonderful place.
Mark Munson, Visiting Malaysia

The haze problem in Malaysia is a recurring event. As a Malaysian citizen, I am quite fed up with the lack of action by the Malaysian government. It is true that the haze is caused by the Indonesian side, but the Malaysian government should take necessary precautionary steps such as cloud seeding to prevent the haze from becoming worse. In addition, the Indonesian government should take more action to prevent open burning. Currently, even with the harsh punishment for forest burning in Indonesia, it seems that no actions have been taken to prosecute those responsible for affecting the lives of millions of Malaysians. This is not what neighbours do to each other.
David Tan, Petaling Jaya

This is not the first time it has happened and it won't be the last time either unless the Indonesian Government puts a stop to this madness. Millions of lives are in jeopardy, not mentioning the economic loss too. It is time for the Indonesian Government to be more sensitive towards its neighbours. Sorry is not enough and we Malaysian are getting tired of this.
Fazil, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

The haze in Kuala Lumpur is getting worse. We can hardly breathe the air outside. It is choking and everything has a burnt smell. It made us feel dizzy too. Why should we suffer from this haze every year just because our neighbours wanted to clear their land?
Johnson Yap, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysia haze triggers emergency
11 Aug 05 |  Asia-Pacific


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