... drastically reduced visibility. It causes respiratory problems and eye irritation...
Muara Teweh, Central Kalimantan (ANTARA News)- Haze arising from forest, peatland, and plantation fires has reduced visibility to 20 meters in Muara Teweh, North Barito District, Central Kalimantan, on Wednesday.

"The haze has thickened and drastically reduced visibility. It causes respiratory problems and eye irritation," Arief Hidayat, a local inhabitant, stated.

According to the Muara Teweh meteorology office, the surface visibility on Wednesday morning was 20 meters, and the vertical visibility was 50 feet.

Based on the monitoring by Terra and Aqua satellites, no hotspots were detected in North Barito on Wednesday at 5 am local time.

"Although zero hotspots were recorded, the haze is very thick here," Sunardri, the head of the Muara Teweh meteorology office, reported.

Head of the North Barito environmental office Suriawan Prihandi remarked that the air quality in the district had reached a hazardous level.

He urged local inhabitants to stay indoors or wear face masks if they have to venture outdoors.

In the meantime, the Palangka Raya authorities have decided to temporarily close schools from the kindergarten to senior high school level as haze from forest fires has reached 1,354.32 PM10 level, which is deemed categorically dangerous.

The schools were closed from October 19 to 21, 2015, Septia Rianty, a senior high school teacher, stated in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan Province, on Monday.

The students have been given homework, so they could study at home, she added.

"Teachers are actually highly concerned as the learning process of the students has been frequently disrupted due to the haze from forest fires," she affirmed.

She hoped the government would take stern action to prevent the recurrence of such a disaster in the coming years.

Previously, the capital of Central Kalimantan had closed schools on September 10-16, on September 25-October 6, and yet again on October 16-17 due to the haze.

Editor: Ade P Marboen
Copyright © ANTARA 2015