In Pontianak (West Kalimantan province), a thick haze from forest fires is gradually worsening. Authorities have ordered temporary school closures until August 27 as a precautionary measure due to health concerns. The health effects of haze depend on its severity as measured by the Pollutants Standards Index (PSI); main symptoms are the irritation of the nose, throat, airways, skin, and eyes caused by fine dust particles. Individuals with medical conditions like asthma, chronic lung disease, chronic sinusitis, and skin conditions are likely to be more severely affected by hazy conditions. Children and the elderly in general are also at higher risk.
Forest fires in the province - a result from slash-and-burn practices to clear agricultural land - regularly generate hazy conditions with an impact on air quality and visibility. This haze issue flares up every dry season in Southeast Asia, a transnational matter that has been ongoing for decades.
Individuals in West Kalimantan are advised to monitor the situation and seek medical advice or assistance when needed.
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