INDONESIA – Jambi (ANTARA) – Haze emanating from forest fires in Jambi on Wednesday compelled two planes flying toward Jambi to return to base and resulted in the cancellations or postponement of several flights.
“This morning, two planes — Garuda GA130 and Lion Air JT 600 — had to return to base,” Executive General Manager of state airport operator Angkasa Pura II M. Hendra Irawan stated here on Wednesday.
Haze also resulted in the cancellation of several flights from or to Jambi, including Lion Air JT 809 serving the Jambi-Jakarta route and Lion Air JT808 operating the Jakarta-Jambi route.
Furthermore, flights of Wings Air IW 1150 serving the Jambi-Bungo-Kerinci route and Wings Air IW 1281 serving the Pekanbaru-Jambi route were postponed.
Visibility at the Sultan Thaha Airport on Wednesday morning had reached only 400 meters, while the minimal visibility for planes to land or take off was 800 meters. On Oct 15, haze arising from forest fires and blanketing Jambi, had thickened, forcing the temporary closure of early childhood education schools (PAUDs) and kindergartens.
The air quality over Jambi was considered unhealthy and hazardous, according to data of the Air Quality Monitoring System (AQMS) issued by the Jambi environmental affairs office, Abu Bakar, spokesman of the Jambi administration, revealed here on Tuesday.
Kindergartens and PAUDs have been shut down on Oct 15-18, while elementary and high schools started at 8:30 a.m. local time instead of 7 a.m. local time.
He also pointed out that all outdoor activities in schools had been put off.
“As a protective measure against smog, all students, teachers, and administrative employees are urged to wear face masks while they are in schools and on the way to and from schools,” he remarked.
In the meantime, haze arising from forest fires and shrouding Palembang, South Sumatra Province, had thickened over the past week, Executive Director of the Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi) Hairul Sobri stated.
“Air quality in Palembang today is categorized as unhealthy due to smog from forest fires in several districts, such as Ogan Ilir, Banyuasin, and Ogan Kemering Ilir,” he remarked in Palembang on Monday.
He stated that air quality in Palembang had not only reached an unhealthy level but also tended to be hazardous, with pollutant level at over 250 micrograms per cubic meter (m3).
Forest fires induced by the El-Nino natural phenomenon that triggered prolonged drought across Indonesia during this year’s dry season have affected eight provinces in the country.