Indonesia — The administrator of Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan province has ordered to close schools and airport following thick haze that came out from forest fire in the province, the Jakarta Globe reported on Wednesday.
“This morning, the governor ordered schools to close because of the poor air quality, which is endangering our health,” Central Kalimantan province spokesman Kardinal Tarung said on Tuesday.
The spokesman said the order was particularly aimed around the province’s capital city of Palangkaraya, which had been blanketed in thick smog for the past three days. However, he added that almost every district in Central Kalimantan was experiencing severe haze problems.
School opening hours in the Palangkaraya area have been pushed back since mid-August because the haze is at its worst in the morning.
Central Kalimantan’s main airport, Tjilik Riwut in Palangkaraya, was also forced to shut down on Tuesday because of low visibility.
“Haze has reduced visibility on the runway, rendering flights impossible,” said airport chief Jamaluddin Hasibuan.
Hasibuan said the airport had stopped issuing flight permits and declared the airport closed after visibility remained at 400 meters — falling as low as 50 meters in the morning — far below the minimum aviation standard of 1,600 meters.
The closure led to the cancellation of 14 domestic and regional flights, leaving hundreds of outbound passengers stranded.
Most fires have so far been blamed on land clearing, both by small-scale farmers and plantation companies, to ready the land for the new planting season.