Asia

More than 300 schools in Johor to close as air quality reaches ‘very unhealthy’ level

JOHOR BAHRU: More than 300 schools and kindergartens in Malaysia's southern state of Johor have been ordered to close on Sunday (Sep 15) after the haze reached "very unhealthy" levels in three districts- Pontian, Muar and Tangkak.

The Air Pollutant Index (API) in Tangkak, the worst-hit district, hit 208 at 5pm.

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An API reading of between 0 and 50 is good; 51 to 100 (moderate); 101 to 200 (unhealthy); 201 to 300 (very unhealthy); and 301 and above is considered hazardous.

READ: Malaysia to conduct cloud seeding in Selangor, where haze forces 29 schools to close

While tens of thousands of students will be affected by the closures, school heads, teachers and other staff members will report for duty as usual, said Johor Education, Human Resources, Science and Technology Committee chairman Aminolhuda Hassan.

He was speaking at an event where 50,000 face masks were distributed to schools in Tangkak and Muar.

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READ: Stronger ASEAN cooperation needed to tackle haze, says Masagos as Singapore offers help to Indonesia

READ: More people fall sick as haze worsens in Malaysia

Malaysia closed hundreds of schools and sent half a million face masks to Sarawak earlier this week, after the smoke built up to unhealthy levels.

Illegal fires to clear land for farming are raging on Indonesia's Sumatra and Borneo islands, with firefighters battling round the clock through charred forests. Water-bombing helicopters have also been deployed to douse the flames.

A view of Kuala Lumpur's skyline shrouded in haze on Sep 14, 2019. (Photo: Nadhrah Darke)

Malaysia and Singapore have offered Indonesia

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