162 schools in Penang closed as air quality worsens

The Komtar building barely visible in the background as a ferry crosses the Penang Strait this morning.

GEORGE TOWN: A total of 162 schools on Penang island have been ordered to close today after the air pollutant index (API) breached 200 this morning.

Schools in the mainland remain open, but all outdoor activities have been suspended.

State Education Department acting director Abdul Rashid Abdul Samad said the decision will affect some 61,000 students.

“The closure involves 111 schools in the north-east and 51 in the south-west district.

“We have advised all primary, secondary, national type and vernacular type and vocational schools, including Form 6 colleges to let the students return home,” he told FMT.

Air quality in Penang island hit unhealthy levels this morning, breaching the 200 “very unhealthy” mark.

As of 11am, the air pollutant index on the island hovered between 205 and 225, and in the 156-163 range on the mainland.

In Kedah, air quality remained at moderate levels at all towns except Kulim at 175.

An API reading of 0-50 indicates good air quality, 51-100 moderate, 101-200 unhealthy, 201-300 very unhealthy and over 300, hazardous.