Indonesian Haze Forces Singapore to Close Schools

People look from an observation room yesterday at the haze-shrouded shopping district of Singapore's Orchard Road.

SINGAPORE — Singapore will close all primary and secondary schools on Friday as worsening pollution causes air quality to deteriorate, the Ministry of Education said last night.

Slash-and-burn agriculture in neighboring Indonesia has blanketed Singapore in a choking haze for weeks, and the air quality has worsened since Wednesday night.

The three-hour Pollutant Standards Index reading climbed to 314 and the 24-hour figure rose to 223-275 at 10pm local time. Anything over 300 indicates "hazardous" air quality and 201-300 is "very unhealthy," Singapore's National Environment Agency says on its website.

Kindergartens run by the Ministry of Education and special education schools will also be closed, according to a statement on the ministry's website.

In addition, Singapore Sports Hub, which includes an outdoor stadium and aquatic sports center, said on its website that it would suspend all outdoor activities. Fast-food restaurants, including KFC, Pizza Hut and McDonald's, have halted delivery service as the pollution worsens.

Story: Reuters / Rujun Shen

 

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