Pontianak urges school closure for smog

JP/Severianus Endi

 

Pontianak authorities have ordered temporarily school closures, as thick smog from forest fires has worsened in the city.

Pontianak Mayor Sutarmidji announced the school closure on Sunday via his Facebook account.

“I have instructed PAUD [early childhood education centers], kindergarten and elementary schools to close and resume operations on Aug 27. As for junior high schools, students can go back to school on Friday,” he wrote.

The closure applies to all schools that are under regional government supervision.

Meanwhile, the West Kalimantan Education and Culture Agency has issued a circular that calls on senior high schools to close from Monday to Thursday in Pontianak and Kubu Raya regency, which are affected by the smog.

The agency stated that the closure might be extended, depending on the smog.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that hot spots detected in West Kalimantan had declined to 526 by 8:22 a.m. local time on Monday. On the morning of Aug. 16, the BNPB had recorded 1,061 hot spots across the province.

Six helicopters have been deployed to combat the forest fires in the province, which resulted from employing slash and burn to clear agricultural land.

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