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Haze - some 220 learning institutions in Tangkak, Muar to close tomorrow

Some 220 schools and institutions of higher learning in Tangkak and Muar will close tomorrow as the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings there have breached the "very unhealthy" mark.

The API for Tangkak, released on the Department of Environment's website, entered the "unhealthy" category at 7am today with a reading of 203, and stood at 208 at 5pm this evening (note that the API monitoring station in Tangkak covers a 35 kilometre radius, spanning both the Tangkak and Muar districts).

The API readings comprise the following categories: good (0-50), moderate (51-100), unhealthy (101-200), very unhealthy (201-300) and hazardous (301 onwards).

Johor Education, Human Resources, Science and Technology Committee chairman Aminolhuda Hassan said the closure will affect 129 schools in Tangkak and 89 schools in Muar, as well as institutions of higher learning including matriculation colleges.

While a total of 40,000 school students will be affected, school heads, teachers and other staff members will report for duty as usual, he said, urging parents to ensure that their children do not spend their time outdoors.

Aminolhuda said this to reporters after officiating at the distribution of 50,000 face masks to schools in Tangkak and Muar.

Meanwhile, an operations centre manned by the state’s Health Department has been opened in Tangkak at 3pm today to monitor the haze situation in the district, State Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar told the media at an event in Batu Pahat.

The assemblyman for Semerah said the state government was monitoring the air quality in various districts at risk, adding that residents in haze-affected areas could get protective masks free-of-charge at the nearest available health clinics. - Bernama

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