SHAH ALAM, June 25: The Executive Councillor for Consumer Affairs and Environment, Elizabeth Wong questioned the direction of the Ministry of Education which only allowed schools to close when the Air Pollution Index (API) exceeds 300, the dangerous level
Elizabeth said that it is more reasonable for schools to be allowed to close if the haze exceeds 150 on the API, which is an unhealthy level.
“I think that the 300 AIP reading is too late. It would be better if schools close when it reaches 150 because we must understand that children’s lungs are not as tolerant as adults’.
“This is what I suggest. They have to review it. It would be better to close schools and replace the missed days during the weekend rather than affect the health of students,” she said.
She was met when distributing masks to residents of Bukit Lanjan at the Desa Jaya morning market in Petaling Jaya this morning.
Yesterday, the State Education Department (JPN) informed that the Ministry of Education issued a directive based on the National Haze Action Plan for schools to close if the API exceeds 300.
Elaborating, she said that the Federal Government should review the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) because it would affect the health of students.
Elizabeth said that the ministry’s directive is inconsistent with its actions yesterday where schools in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor were closed when the API level was below 200.
“The action of the Ministry to re-open schools in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur is not justified. Yesterday, when the API in most places was under 200, (schools) were closed. But today, the API reading is above 200, schools have been re-opened.
“This will certainly worry parents and teachers,” she said when met at the mask distribution to the public programme at Bukit Lanjan.
This morning, the air quality in Port Klang, Selangor, was categorised as hazardous when the API readings recorded was at 495 as of 8 am.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment portal reported four areas in Selangor which are Petaling Jaya, Banting, Shah Alam and Kuala Selangor, recorded very unhealthy API with readings exceeding 200.
Elizabeth also informed that the State Government has already distributed 250,000 masks to residents of Selangor, including schools because of the high demand.