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Jakarta Post

Schools, flights off as haze thickens

  • Jon Afrizal

    The Jakarta Post

Jambi   /   Wed, October 1, 2014   /  09:51 am

The Jambi administration has closed childhood education program (PAUD) centers and kindergartens, as haze from forest fires blanketing the city continues to worsen.

Jambi regional secretary Daru Pratomo said the parents of kindergarten and PAUD pupils had been told not to send their children to school on Tuesday and Wednesday.

'€œBased on instructions from Jambi Deputy Mayor Abdullah Sani, we have decided to give kindergarten and PAUD students a vacation. We have instructed the Education Agency to implement the order,'€ said Daru on Tuesday.

He added that it was probable that the administration would also close elementary schools if the haze worsened.

Jambi'€™s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency'€™s (BMKG) head of data, Kurnia Ningsih, said that as of Tuesday, 25 separate fires had been detected across Jambi province: 17 in Sarolangun district, three in Muaro Jambi, two in Batanghari and one each in Merangin, East Tanjungjabung and West Tanjungjabung.

'€œThe haze is mostly from South Sumatra province, to the southeast of Jambi. However, Jambi is still in the dry season, which could be contributing to the haze,'€ said Kurnia.

Yussvinoza, head of the pollution control division at the Jambi Environment Agency (BLHD), said the air pollution standards index (ISPU) level in Jambi City was recorded at a level of 115 on Tuesday.

'€œAir pollution in Jambi has been categorized as hazardous to health,'€ said Yussvinoza.

Elsewhere, dense haze has also covered Riau Islands province and Central Kalimantan province, causing wide-scale disruption to flights.

In Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, a Garuda Indonesia flight from Jakarta failed to land at Tjilik Riwut Airport on Tuesday due to haze.

'€œVisibility for landing was not of a high enough standard, so the flight was rerouted to the Syamsuddin Noor International Airport in South Kalimantan,'€ Yunus, the Garuda Indonesia branch manager in Palangkaraya, said as quoted by Antara news portal.

Central Kalimantan Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Mochtar said the haze originated from forest and peatland fires, and was exacerbated by smoke from fire extinguishing efforts in razed areas.

In North Barito regency, Central Kalimantan, Susi Air airlines canceled all flights to and from Beringin Muara Teweh Airport on Tuesday.

'€œFlights from three cities in Kalimantan to Beringin Muara Teweh Airport had to be canceled today because there was dense haze from morning until afternoon,'€ said airport employee Asmadi.

Antara also reported that in Sampit, East Kotawaringin regency, also in Central Kalimantan, the haze restricted visibility to 30 meters, causing havoc to people'€™s daily lives.

'€œI was late to school because the haze was so dense, I was afraid to ride my motorcycle fast. Luckily, lessons were postponed until 8 a.m.,'€ said Ayu, a student at a vocational school in Sampit.

East Kotawaringin regency Communications and Informatics Office head Fadlian Noor urged motorists, including angkot (public minivan) drivers, to be extra careful.

Fadlian added that visibility on the Mentaya River was also very limited, the dense haze having blurred the view across the river, necessitating extra caution on the part of boat pilots.

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