Haze again covers Dumai, Riau

Dumai (ANTARA News) - Haze again covered Dumai, Riau Province, on Tuesday evening, after it had been disappearing over the last two weeks.

"We thought the haze would never come back because there was no more plantation fire in Dumai. Suddenly, it reappeared last night," Asnul, a local resident of East Dumai, said here on Wednesday.

The haze started on Tuesday at 8 pm local time and became thicker early Wednesday.

Although the haze looked thin, it affected the respiratory system of some people because it produced a smell that caused breathing difficulties.

"We don`t expect much, but hope that the government will handle this chronic problem because it is affecting our health, especially the health of our children who must go to school," he said.

Another Dumai inhabitant, Bambang, said the haze did not only affect the respiratory system but also people`s eyes.

"It hurts the eyes, and automatically disrupts motorists` concentration forcing them to slow down their motors to avoid traffic accidents," Bambang said.

Early in July, the health authorities in Dumai had warned the public that the air quality in the region has deteriorated due to haze containing excessive sulfur dioxide which is hazardous to human health.

The Air Pollution Standard Index board owned by PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia (CPI) showed the pollutant standard index at 242 meaning a very dangerous level, Head of the Dumai Health Service Marjoko Santoso said here on July 4.

"We have to be careful with such a condition because the air is containing hazardous substance which could harm the people`s health, and even cause death for those chronically affected," he said.

The air condition in Dumai has been very dangerous for people of all walks of life, he said, adding that it could be worse for those having respiratory problems.

Haze covering Dumai and surrounding areas come from forest and plantation fires.(*)