SCHOOLS in the Klang Valley have been urged to suspend outdoor activities as the haze has reached an unhealthy level.
Selangor executive councillor for environment Datuk Ch’ng Toh Eng said school heads should keep their students in the classroom and stop co-curricular activities.
“Since Aug 6 (Saturday), the air quality in Klang, Shah Alam, Petaling Jaya, Gombak and Kuala Selangor has been at the unhealthy index,’’ he said.
“It would be wise for the school heads to adhere to this instruction as it could cause eye irritation and breathing problems.”
Ch’ng said over the past three days the thick haze caused by 330 hot spots in Sumatra blanketed the Klang Valley due to surface winds blowing towards Malaysia.
“Children and adults must consume more water and keep to the indoors.
“Our administration is concerned about the children, especially those suffering from asthma or other breathing difficulties,” he said.
Currently the haze is bad with an acrid smell of outdoor burning.
“Visibility is poor as motorist are able to only see up to a distance of two kilometres in Subang, Petaling Jaya and Sepang,’’ said Ch’ng.
Ch’ng said despite the haze being contributed by a neighbouring country, local authorities were checking into open burning at landfills, agriculture plots and at housing areas in Malaysia.
He said peat fires were common in the Sungai Blankan farming locality in Sepang, Hulu Chuchuh (Sepang), Johan Setia, Si Jankang in Banting and PKPS in Kuala Selangor.
Ch’ng also urged the Chinese community to not burn joss sticks and prayer papers during the current Hungry Ghost Festival.
Those caught conducting open burning will be charged under the Environmental Quality Act 1974, that penalises an offender with a RM500,000 fine, a five-year jail or both.
Offenders also risk being fined by the local council for the same offence.
Ch’ng said the fine would be issued based on the number of bonfires.
MTUC president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud said employers should ensure that their workers doing field work were given the necessary help to protect themselves from the haze.
“Some jobs require workers to go out or spend long hours outdoors and these expose them to the haze which may jeopardise their health,’’ he said.
Those wanting to report open burning can call the Fire and Rescue Department at 03-8888 0336 or the Department of Environment at 03-5519 7233 or 012 224 1640.