BUTTERWORTH: The state government has suspended all outdoor programmes from yesterday while the state Education Department has issued a circular to schools to be selective with regard to outdoor activities as the Air Pollution Index (API) in Seberang Jaya here hit the unhealthy level.
State health, environment and caring society committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the precautionary measures were taken as the situation was expected to last for at least a week.
Phee added that the decision was made during a meeting that was convened about 10am yesterday after the API for Seberang Jaya hit the unhealthy level of 101 as at 7am.
As at 11am yesterday, the reading at the Department of Environment's (DOE) station in Seberang Jaya showed that the API had worsened to 103, from the moderate readings recorded over the past few days.
The DOE's Air Pollutant Index Management system (Apims) showed as at 11am yesterday, its stations in Perai and Universiti Sains Malaysia campus in Gelugor, George Town had recorded 88 and 80 API readings respectively, a slight increase from readings recorded earlier at 7am.
The DOE classifies API readings above 100 and 200 as unhealthy, followed by very unhealthy (200-300) and hazardous if the reading goes above the 300 mark.
"The Meteorological Department expects that there will be no rain in Penang for the next seven days. So we expect the situation will only recover after one week."
State Education Department director Ahmad Tarmizi Kamaruddin said it had issued a circular for schools to exercise precaution in allowing outdoor activities.