Rizal Harahap, Pekanbaru – A thick blanket of haze from forest fires has forced schools in Dumai, Riau, to dismiss their students early.
On Wednesday, four principals from different elementary schools asked the Dumai Education Agency for permission to dismiss their students early because of the increasing severity of the haze.
"They went home at 10 a.m. We asked the principals to tell the students' parents to pick their children up at school so they wouldn't wander around after school," Dumai Education Agency secretary Dedy said on Wednesday.
He also said that so far the regional administration had not released an official order to put school activities on hold.
"We leave that decision to each school's respective principal. If they are worried the haze will put the students' health at risk, feel free to dismiss the students early," Dedy said.
Aside from disrupting school activities, the increasing haze has also disrupted flight schedules at Pinang Kampai Airport. The airport's head, Irvan, said visibility had been reduced to 800 meters at noon.
"A Wings Air flight from Hang Nadim Airport [in Batam, Riau Islands, to Dumai was delayed for three hours," Irvan said.
He added that the airport's operations had been disrupted twice this week due to severe haze.
"We also had to cancel a flight to Medan [in North Sumatra] on Monday because of the haze, and delayed several flights to Batam and Pekanbaru [in Riau] for a few hours," Irvan said.
Afri Lagan from the Dumai Disaster Mitigation Agency said that no hotspots had been reported around the city. The haze has reportedly come from the neighboring district of Mandau where seven hotspots have been detected. (dpk)