The Penang State Government Urges The Education Ministry Not To Risk Our Children’s Health But To Automatically Close Down All Schools When The Air Pollution Index(API) Exceeds 150.(en/cn)

Press Statement by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 25 June 2013.

The Penang state government urges the Education Ministry not to risk our children’s health but to automatically close down all schools when the API exceeds 150. The current guidelines of automatic closure of schools where the API is more than 300 and that schools must remain open if the API is below 250, is not practical and just too low.

If even adults feel like falling sick with sore eyes and throats from prolonged exposure when the API exceeds 150, what more young children? The Penang state government feels that public health and safety cannot be compromised and to wait until the API exceeds more than 300 before there is school closure, is just irresponsible.

The Education Ministry must realise that there is every likelihood that when the API exceeds 150 or 300, it can go even higher just like in Muar which hit a high of 746. Further whilst the API readings are now updated hourly not all areas in Malaysia have API readings such as Balik Pulau, Jawi, Bukit Mertajam, Kepala Batas or George Town, Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi Why risk our children’s health?

Further, the Department of Environment must also explain the disconnect between API readings and visual visibility. Many question the low API readings when there is such low visibility. In the meantime, Penangites can only hope that the wind conditions will spare Penang from the worsening haze.

There must be proper guidance and guidelines with a system that promotes clarity and certainty both for parents and teachers. As the haze is a recurring affair, an announcement of ‘until further notice’ is no longer acceptable when it affects our children’s education.

This morning Penang State Secretary Dato Farizan Bin Darus chaired a full haze preparatory meeting and outlined a series of measures to be implemented in the event there is a similar emergency situation. Dato Farizan remains hopeful that the wind direction will save Penang from a more severe haze situation which is slightly unhealthy at below 130.

—-Mandarin Version —-

槟州首席部长林冠英于2013年6月25日在乔治市发表声明:

槟州政府促请教育部不要让我们的孩子冒健康的危险,而是在空气污染指数达150时所有学校应自动停课。

槟州政府促请教育部不要让我们的孩子冒着健康的危险,而是在空气污染指数达150时所有学校应自动停课。目前当局推行在空气污染指数超出300时自动停课,在250以下时还需开课,是不实际及标准太低。

当空气污染指数超过150时,连大人在长时间接触烟霾的情况下,都感觉像要生病,眼睛喉咙肿痛,小孩不是更难受?槟州政府认为公共健康和安全不能妥协,要等到空气污染指数到了300才停课是不负责任的。

教育部必须知道,当空气污染指数超出150或300时,它很有可能像麻坡那样突然间上升到746点。目前每个小时更新的空气污染指数测量点并没有涵盖全马,例如浮罗山背、爪夷、大山脚、甲抛峇底或乔治市、丹绒武雅、峇都丁宜都没有测量点,为什么要我们孩子冒着健康的危险?

再说,环境局必须解释为何空气污染指数与能见度不一致。很多人都问为什么能见度如何低时,为了空气污染指数还是很低?同时,槟城人民只能希望风向能让烟霾不再继续恶化。

教育局必须发出正当的指示及指南,清楚地告诉家长及老师应该怎么做。随着烟霾不断复发,一句“直至另行通知”实在无法被接受,它会影响孩子的教育。

今早槟城州秘书拿督法立占主持了应对烟霾准备会议,并列出了一系列在烟霾危机时刻所需采取的措施。拿督法立占也希望风向能让槟州烟霾不再进一步恶化,目前的空气污染指数是已进入不健康水平130。

林冠英

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