SIBU: Workers requiring to work outdoors amid poor air quality, as denoted by high air pollution index (API) reading, are advised to wear personal protective equipment (PPE).

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said minute dust particles emitted from forest fires could pose a health hazard.

“I am very concerned, from the occupational safety and health (OSH) point of view, with very serious implications that the very polluted environment will affect the health of the public.

“They need to put on a face mask because if they were to inhale the dust particles, it is bad for the lungs,” Lee said yesterday.

Last Monday, API broke the 200-mark, recording a reading of 221, registering the most unhealthy air quality in the country.

The situation here has since improved remarkably – thanks to the heavy downpour over the last two days.

Giving more tips, Lee reminded the people to wash their face regularly.

He pointed out it was important for people to drink lots of water to clear any blockage caused by dust. He mentioned that the public should be aware of the dos and don’ts, such as avoiding an open area of poor air quality.

He further noted many parts of the country were facing the effects of the hot weather and El Nino.

“In the meanwhile, authorities should see how they can reduce the number of forest fires,” Lee said, calling for investigations into the causes as among preventive measures. An observation at the site of a bush fire in Bukit Lima area here yesterday, noted it was still smouldering with acrid fumes. Sibu Zone Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) chief Abdul Mutalib Rashid had described Bukit Lima area as the worst affected.