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Class suspension if haze worsens

  • Classes should be suspended if the air pollution index hits 200. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

PETALING JAYA, Mar 4 (Sin Chew Daily) -- Deputy education director-general (education operation sector) Datuk Sufaat Tumin said schools could decide whether to suspend the classes depending on the haze situation, not necessarily based on the pollution index at 5pm of the day.

He said, "If a student is not feeling well because of the haze, he should be sent for medical treatment immediately, and if parents are concerned about the health of their children, they can also apply to the school for exemption from class."

Reduce outdoor activities

He told Sin Chew Daily, "The education ministry will conform to the directive issued on August 7 last year to immediately suspend the classes if the index goes beyond 200. The schools have their own information delivery system. Once the haze condition has worsened to a stage the classes have to be suspended, the teachers will inform the parents."

He said an index above 100 is already unhealthy, and students in the risk group will present the signs and symptoms of asthma and coughing, among others, and must be exempted from all outdoor activities.

"The air will be very unhealthy if the index is more than 150. Schools must stop all outdoor activities. Classes will be suspended if the index is over 200."

Many areas in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, along with Nilai in Negeri Sembilan, suffered from unhealthy air with pollution index over 100 since Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, Selangor education director Datuk Mahmud Karim said the authorities would issue directives to all schools in the state to remind them of various instructions during hazy weather.

Due to change in wind direction, the haze from Sumatra's forest fires has spread to peninsular Malaysia since yesterday.

A state of emergency was declared in the province of Riau in Indonesia last week because of more than 1,500 incidents of uncontrolled wild fires. Pulau Rupat, which is the nearest point to peninsular Malaysia, is less than 40km from Port Dickson. The air pollution index in Pulau Rupat once hit 773 with almost 30,000 people seeking medical attention owing to breathing difficulty.

Due to change in wind direction, coupled with the typhoon affecting northern Philippines, haze is expected to drift from Sumatra to West Malaysia and Singapore in greater intensities.

Boost immunity

Malaysian Chinese Medical Association president Cheah Kok Kay advised the public to stay indoors, refrain from outdoor activities, put on face masks, eat more vegetables, drink more water and sleep early in order to improve their immune system during worsening haze.

He told Sin Chew Daily people suffering from respiratory diseases such as chronic bronchitis, tracheitis, allergies and asthma should take precautionary measures during hazy conditions.

People not suffering from respiratory diseases and are physically healthy should consume more mushrooms, bitter gourds, watermelons, carrots, pears, chrysanthemum tea, coconut water, etc to boost their immune system to fight the effects of haze while relieving the heat.

"Adding ginger to food could help relieve itchiness on the throat. So could luohan guo and almond powder."

However, Cheah advised individuals suffering from respiratory illnesses and elderlies not to drink coconut water but sweet soup of sea coconut, white fungus, lily buds or lotus seeds instead.


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