Hundreds of school close in Malaysia after air quality deteriorates

Xinhua | Published: September 11, 2019 16:40:12 | Updated: September 21, 2019 20:38:43

Petronas Twin Towers are shrouded in haze in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sept. 10, 2019. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)

Hundreds of schools were closed in Malaysia's Sarawak state after air quality dropped due to the ongoing haze, the state Education Department has said.

The closures include 347 primary and 62 secondary schools in nine districts which serve over 150,000 students, the department said in a statement on Tuesday.

Air quality in several parts of the state were rated as "unhealthy" with the Air Pollution Index reading between 120 and 186 points, according to the country's Department of Environment.

According to the country's air quality rating, an API reading of zero to 50 is "good," 51 to 100 "moderate," 101 to 200 "unhealthy," 201 to 300 "very unhealthy," and 301 and above is "hazardous."

The schools will be closed immediately if the API reading in a district rise beyond 200.

Meanwhile, parts of Peninsula Malaysia recorded an API between 102 and 195 with the worst hit being Rompin district in Pahang state, while the capital Kuala Lumpur recorded an API of 158.

The Ministry of Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment last week said the cause of the haze was due to forest fires in the region including in neighbouring Indonesia.

Its minister Yeo Bee Yin on Monday offered to help Indonesia put out the raging forest fires in the country which she said needed to be urgently extinguished.

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