KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12-- The current haze has necessitated 19 schools to suspend classes today.
Of the affected schools, three are in Johan Setia Klang, Selangor, and 16, in Rompin, Pahang.
More schools are expected to close tomorrow in light of the worsening situation, that is when the air pollutant index (API) reading exceeds 200 to "very unhealthy" level.
In a statement tonight, Selangor Education Department said 29 schools in the state, that is, 24 in Klang and five in Kuala Langat would likely close tomorrow.
The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) with the cooperation of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) today carried out cloud seeding in Sarawak - Sri Aman, Kuching and Samarahan.
“It did ease the situation and we expect the haze to abate at the end of this month or early next month because of the monsoon transition," said MetMalaysia director-general Jailan Simon.
On Tuesday, 409 schools in Sarawak was shut down temporarily when the API reading exceeded 200. However, classes resumed yesterday.
Malaysia will also send a letter to Indonesia as soon as possible on the transboundary haze pollution. To this end, Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Yeo Bee Yin said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had agreed to write to President Jokowi Widodo.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah also expressed concern over the haze which is affecting a number of areas in Malaysia, and has advised the people to be alert on the air quality in their environment.
Schools that were closed today were Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Johan Setia; SK Jalan Kebun; and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Jalan Kebun in Johan Setia Klang.
In Rompin, the schools are SMK Sungai Puteri; SK Tanjung Gemok; SK Pontian; SK Kampong Kolam; SK Chenderawasih; SK Leban Chondong; SK Rompin; SK Sungai Puteri; SK Sarang Kedaik; SK Sarang Tiong; SK Pianggu; SK Janglau; SK (Felda) Selendang 1; SK (LKTP) Selendang 4; SK (LKTP) Keratong 8; and Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Cina).
As of 6 pm, the air quality over 17 areas across the country pointed to "unhealthy", that is, below 200 in the API reading.
According to the Air Pollution Index Malaysia (APIMS) website, Johan Setia Klang, Selangor recorded an API reading of 192 this evening, compared to 213 in the morning.
Other areas that recorded unhealthy API readings as of 6 pm, were Shah Alam (125), Petaling Jaya (119), Klang (120), Banting (109), and Kuala Selangor (134); in Selangor, Batu Muda (135) and Cheras (118); in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya (120); Nilai, Negeri Sembilan (116); Tangkak, Johor (113); Jerantut, Pahang (109); and Sri Aman, Sarawak (149).
Other areas with unhealthy API readings were Minden (110) and Balik Pulau (129) in Penang as well as Tasik Ipoh (105) and Seri Manjung (140) in Perak.
An API reading of 0 to 50 is categorised as good; 51 to 100 (moderate); 101 to 200 (unhealthy); 201 to 300 (very unhealthy); and 300 and above, as hazardous.
The public can refer to apims.doe.gov.my for API updates.