Principals can close schools if API reading becomes 'unhealthy'


  • Nation
  • Monday, 19 Aug 2019

KUCHING: School principals in Sarawak can decide to close their schools if the air pollutant index (API) reaches 200 and above, says Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah.

The Deputy Chief Minister said it was the standard operating procedure (SOP) for schools to be closed once the API hits 200, which is when the air is deemed to be very unhealthy.

"We have discussed the SOP and agreed that the person with the authority to make the decision to close the affected school is the principal, upon discussion with the respective district education office, " he told reporters after chairing a state disaster management committee meeting here on Monday (Aug 19).

So far no schools in the state have been closed due to the haze.

At noon on Monday, the API reading across the state was below 100.

It was school holidays last week when the API hit hazardous levels above 300 in Kuala Baram in Miri due to peat fires in the area.

Uggah reminded the public not to carry out open burning during the current dry spell.

He also urged those facing water shortage to inform their Resident's Office immediately.

"We have set our KPI (key performance indicator) to supply water within six hours after receiving a complaint, " he said, adding that disaster management committees at divisional level had been activated to respond to fire and water shortage problems.

Meanwhile, Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said the Welfare Department was delivering bottled water to areas which could not be reached by the Sarawak Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB).

"We provide 24 1.5-litre bottles of water per person per week. For areas that can be accessed by JBALB, the department will send water tankers, " she said.

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