Jakarta (Antara) – The city of Pekanbaru in Riau is enveloped in thick smoke coming from the land and forest fires. Students and teachers are forced to wear masks to schools as precautionary measure due to the poor air quality.
"Since Monday, the school asked children to wear masks as they are very prone to being affected by the smog," kindergarten teacher Afni Sarianti said on Wednesday, July 31.
Afni hopes that the government will immediately overcome forest and land fires that continues to deteriorate Pekanbaru's air quality.
According to teachers from several schools, the Pekanbaru City's Education Office advises schools to reduce outdoor activities and asked teachers and students to wear masks. If the smog thickens, they advised sending the students home early.
According to the city's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) station, the smog is the result of forest and land fires that engulfed Palalawan Regency, located south of Pekanbaru.
As of Tuesday, July 30, there were 60 hotspots detected in Riau. On Wednesday morning, the number dropped to 10.