Pulau Burung Landfill Fire: 10 schools ordered to close


NIBONG TEBAL, Jan 18  — A total of 10 schools located near the Pulau Burung landfill in Jalan Byram here, have been ordered to close for three days starting tomorrow, after a fire that started last Wednesday continues to burn, polluting the air. 

Among the 10 schools involved are Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SJKT) Ladang Byram; SJKT Ladang Changkat; SJKT Nibong Tebal, Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC) Pai Teik; Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Seri Sentosa; SK Keledang Jaya; SK Nibong Tebal; SK Methodist; Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Seri Nibong and SMK Methodist.

Penang Education Department director Abdul Rashid Abdul Samad, when contacted by Bernama, said for a start, all 10 schools, including the two secondary schools, would be closed from Jan 19 to 21.

“The next course of action will be made after we see the development of the fire situation,” he said here today.

Meanwhile, chief education officer for Seberang Perai Selatan district, Mohamad Dziauddin Mat Saad said the decision to close the 10 schools was made after the district disaster meeting held yesterday.

Mohamad Dziauddin said the decision was taken after finding that the air index within a radius of 10 kilometres (km) including the schools was at level three under the Acute Exposure Guidelines (AEGL) which is the concentration of air that could cause severe effects to the health and lives of residents.

“As a result of the meeting, we gave permission to the 10 schools to close and any further decision will be informed no later than this Saturday on the status of school operation based on the decision and advice from the Seberang Perai Selatan District Disaster Committee,” he said in a statement today.

He said the school management was asked to inform teachers, parents, canteen operators, bus operators and other relevant parties regarding the school closure so that initial preparatory actions could be made by the parties involved.

“During the closure, students will follow the home-based teaching and learning session (PdPR) method and the school is also asked to provide staff on standby tomorrow morning (Wednesday) to manage students if they attend school due to not receiving information on the closure,” he said.

He said during the period, all school staff were asked to wear face masks, reduce outdoor activities and if unwell, seek treatment at a nearby clinic or hospital.

The Pulau Burung landfill caught fire last Wednesday and as of yesterday, it was reported that the Fire and Rescue Department only managed to extinguish seven per cent of the area affected by the fire.