"Yes, the air quality is now unhealthy," Yudhistira Mawaddah, analyst at the station, noted here on Saturday morning.
Haze from forest fires blanketed Pekanbaru in the morning, although on Friday afternoon, the air quality had improved, and the air was relatively clear, he pointed out.
The concentration of coarse particulate matter (PM10) in the air had risen and considered unhealthy, as it had exceeded 150 micrograms per cubic meters, he remarked. The city's air quality has continued to deteriorate since Saturday at 2 a.m. local time.
"At 8 this morning, the PM10 is at 160," he stated.
The visibility rate dropped to two kilometers in Pekanbaru and Dumai, three kilometers in Pelalawan, and six kilometers in Rengat.
The haze, shrouding Pekanbaru, came from forest fires in the neighboring districts of Siak and Pelalawan.
On Saturday at 6 a.m. local time, the Terra and Aqua satellites detected 71 hotspots in Riau, comprising 24 in Siak, 16 in Pelalawan, 13 in Bengkalis, seven in Rokan Hilir, six in Indragiri Hilir, four in Meranti, and one in Indragiri Hulu.
Of the 71 hotspots, 51 were indicated as fire spots, with 22 in Siak, 11 in Pelalawan, six in Bengkalis, five in Indragiri Hilir, four in Rohan Hilir, and three in Meranti Island.
He forecast that northern Riau would be bright but cloudy on Saturday, and it would likely have brief light rain.
In the meantime, at least 1,136 residents of Pekanbaru, Riau Province, have suffered from upper respiratory tract infections following exposure to haze arising from forest fires raging in the province’s several districts.
All community health posts in Pekanbaru were notified to be prepared to deliver optimal services to respiratory patients, Mohammad Amin, acting head of the Pekanbaru health office, had stated recently.
Most outpatients were people belonging to the productive age group that often conducted outdoor activities, he explained.
He called on Pekanbaru residents to watch out for their health and remain indoors at a time when haze shrouds their city. Related news: Singapore lauds Indonesia's forest fire control efforts