Dense haze cover smothers Kubu Raya, forcing closure of schools

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

Pontianak, W Kalimantan (ANTARA) - A dense cover of haze, arising from wildfires in West Kalimantan, has compelled the Kubu Raya district government to shut down schools to protect preschool and elementary students from the detrimental impacts 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 noted.

Mahendrawan remarked that it was necessary for the school principals to inform the students' parents and to urge them to manage their children's learning activities at home during the time when the schools were temporarily shut.

He also suggested that parents tend to their children's health by ensuring adequate water intake and wearing masks while conducting outdoor activities.

Mahendrawan clarified that although school principals, workers, and teachers remain obliged to work, but their working hours would be cut short owing to the students being instructed to stay at home.

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

As of 8 a.m. local time, four flights should have landed at the airport, though on the contrary, none did, Acting Head of the Operational Division at Supadio International Airport in Pontianak Didi Herdiansyah remarked.

The approved visibility for aviation safety is at least a thousand meters, but the thickening smog has drastically reduced it to 550 meters. Consequently, several flight schedules were affected, he noted.

"The deteriorating visibility has resulted in cancellations of several flights," he remarked, adding that only one flight -- Garuda Flight G501 serving the Pontianak-Jakarta route -- had taken off from the airport on Monday at 6:34 a.m. local time.

In comparison with Sunday morning (Sept 15), the Supadio International Airport authorities recorded seven departures and three arrivals until 8 a.m. local time, but thereafter, 37 flights got cancelled owing to the smog.

After 5 p.m. local time, the Supadio International Airport authorities resumed operations during which 13 flight departures and 16 flight arrivals were recorded at the airport, he confirmed.

"We all have felt the impact of the thickening smog, and we hope that all of us care. May we receive rainfall in the near future, so that the sources of land and forest fires can be extinguished," Herdiansyah stated.

Source: ANTARA News

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