JOHOR BARU, Sept 15 — Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal today said that all kindergartens, schools and institutes of learning in the state that have recorded very unhealthy Air Pollutant Index (API) will remain closed until their air quality improves.
He said schools located in Tangkak, Muar and Pontian that have been affected by the haze will only resume classes when the API readings for the three districts registers below 200.
“The state government is always prepared for any eventuality, especially during the current haze situation,” said Dr Sahruddin after officiating the state-level Rukun Negara appreciation programme at SMK Tasek Utara here today.
On the current haze spell that has hit Johor, Dr Sahruddin urged the public to wear face masks whenever they are outside their homes or offices.
“The public must also be aware of the air quality readings in their respective areas as part of safeguarding themselves from falling ill due to the haze,” he said.
Checks on the air quality in Tangkak and Pontian districts showed a deterioration this morning as the API recorded very unhealthy levels.
There is also an increase of API levels in other districts in the state compared to yesterday.
A check on the API readings on the DoE’s website for 10am saw the Tangkak district as the worst hit with an API reading of 249, followed by Pontian at 230.
Pontian’s reading was monitored using mobile equipment with the last reading made at 3am today.
Other districts registered unhealthy readings with Batu Pahat recording an API of 185, followed by Larkin (168), Segamat (163), Kluang (154) and Pasir Gudang (110).
Both Kota Tinggi and Pengerang registered moderate API readings at 76 and 77.
An API reading of zero to 50 indicates good air quality; 51 to 100, moderate; 101 to 200, unhealthy; 201 to 300, very unhealthy and 300 and above, hazardous.
Yesterday, the Johor Education Department ordered the closure of more than 300 kindergartens, schools and institutes of learning in Pontian, Muar and Tangkak today due to the deteriorating haze situation in the state.
Initially, only those in Muar and Tangkak (who share the same API readings) were ordered closed today as Johor observes Sunday as the first day of the week with Friday and Saturday being the official weekends.
However, due to a spike in Pontian’s API readings, the closure was later extended to all kindergartens, schools and institutes of learning in Pontian as well.