"The blanket of haze has thickened, and it may have put our health at risk," Wulan, a Singkawang city resident, remarked.
Pontianak, W Kalimantan (ANTARA) - The Singkawang city administration has kept preschool and elementary students home and away from schools over thick haze cover from land and forest fires that conflagrated some parts of West Kalimantan over the past days.

The city administration closed the schools on Sept 16-18. The local students were required to return to schools on Sept 19, Singkawang City Mayor Tjhai Chui Mie informed journalists here on Monday.

Mie admitted to having urged those from the city administration's education and culture office and supervisory council to coordinate with all school principals over this decision.

He also appealed to students' parents to care for their kids' health.

Local residents welcomed the city administration's policy on the temporary closure of schools due to the thick smoke that might have impacted the people's health.

"The blanket of haze has thickened, and it may have put our health at risk," Wulan, a Singkawang city resident, remarked.

She is optimistic of rains soon being received to extinguish the forest fires and to improve tap water supplies.

The thickening haze has also compelled the Kubu Raya district administration to shut down schools to protect all preschool and elementary students there from the harmful effects of the smog.

Kubu Raya District Head Muda Mahendrawan has issued a letter, dated September 16, 2019, notifying that all preschool, kindergarten, and elementary students should stay at home.

"The Kubu Raya administration is again forced to close schools from September 16 to September 17 since the air pollution level, as revealed by the district's air pollution standard index (ISPU), has indicated an unhealthy category," he stated.

Related news: Ministry readies safe houses for haze-affected citizens

Mahendrawan highlighted the need for school principals to notify the parents of their students and to urge them to manage their children's learning activities at home during the time the schools are temporarily closed.

He also suggested that the parents care for their children's health condition by ensuring sufficient intake of water and wearing masks while venturing outdoors.

School principals, workers, and teachers remain obliged to work, but their working hours were reduced due to the students being advised to stay home, he stated.

Related news: Supadio Airport's flight schedules hindered by thick wildfire smoke

The thick smoke not only disrupted school activities but had also lowered visibility to some 550 meters, resulting in the Supadio International Airport authorities not permitting pilots to land or take off on Monday morning.

Several parts of the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan have been bearing the brunt of the thick smoke arising from wildfires over the past weeks. The thickening smog has also threatened the people's health and economic activities. Related news: Thickening smog disrupts Palangka Raya airport's flight schedules

Related news: Paser District in East Kalimantan shrouded by thick smog


Translator: Rendra O, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2019