As a worsening haze from Indonesian forest fires blankets the capital and neighbouring Singapore, Malaysian schools are ordered to close.
South-East Asia has endured for decades from annual busts of smog caused by slash and burn practices in Indonesia’s Sumatra and Kalimantan islands, but authorities in the area have neglected to deal with the problem.
Air quality dipped to “unhealthy amounts” in Malaysia and Singapore this week.
The education ministry in Malaysia has ordered school closures in three contiguous states, Kuala Lumpur as well as the nearby administrative capital of Putrajaya.
The Indonesian government declared a state of emergency in Sumatra’s Riau province.
Free face masks have been distributed by Malaysian authorities in a number of regions, while the marine and aviation sectors are counseled to really go on high alert.
Thousands of individuals are there in smoke-choked regions of Borneo and Sumatra have fallen ill, while air travel there’s also been interrupted because of poor visibility.
Palm oil and pulp and paper companies, some of which are listed in Singapore normally causes the smog.
The firms blame small holders for the fires but have been criticised by green groups for not doing enough to prevent the rampant or haze deforestation in Indonesia.
Singapore’s environment minister said Indonesia had agreed to share names of companies causing the fires after the information was confirmed.
Calamity officials said Indonesia had deployed hundreds of troops that were military to fight the fires and would send in additional choppers to water-bomb the affected areas if necessary.