GEORGE TOWN: The Penang state government will be giving out masks to primary schoolchildren after air quality approached unhealthy levels here.
State Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh the state exco meeting Wednesday decided that the masks would be distributed on Thursday and Friday.
"The haze for the last three days has averaged 84 on the air pollution index (API) for the island and 98 on the mainland," he told a press conference in Komtar.
He added that the haze is expected to last till November.
"The Meteorological Department said haze conditions are expected to last till October, but based on our experience it will continue until November when the northeast monsoon starts," he said.
He also said he managed to meet Indonesia's Minister of Environment during the Fifth Regional 3R Forum in Asia and the Pacific in February last year to discuss the matter.
"They have given assurance to do their best to curb open burning," he said, adding the topic was also in discussion among Malaysian and Indonesian delegates in the Sixth Regional 3R Forum in Asia and the Pacific in Male this year.