West Kalimantan on high smog alert
The Jakarta Post
Ever-thickening haze has blanketed 14 regencies and cities in West Kalimantan over the last two days, as nearby forest fires continue to burn.
TTA Nyarong, head of the West Kalimantan Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), said that the governor had raised the province's alert status to siaga from July 8 until probably November.
"The alert status was raised on July 8 due to the region's Air Pollution Standard Index [ISPU], which indicated an unhealthy level," Nyarong told thejakartapost recently.
According to a report from officials on Wednesday, more than 995 hectares of forest has now been burned.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Supadio Pontianak reported that there were still up to 614 hot spots across several areas in West Kalimantan on Wednesday, which had resulted in visibility declining from 2,000 meters at 4 a.m. to 600 meters at 6 a.m.
The smog has also affected people's health, with no less than 18,000 light cases and 1,922 severe cases of respiratory infections reported by the West Kalimantan Health Agency between January and August.
Pontianak mayor Sutarmidji has announced the cancelation of all kindergarten and elementary school activities for three days from Thursday.
Since Sept. 1, efforts have been made to extinguish the fires in the province, including the use of artificial rain and water bombing. (kes)(++++)
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