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Malaysian Schools Suspend Outdoor Activities, Mask Distributors Prepare

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:24 PM
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Malaysian Schools Suspend Outdoor Activities, Mask Distributors Prepare
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Malaysia's Sarawak state ordered schools to suspend outdoor activities and authorities prepared to distribute 1.3 million masks as hazy conditions caused by land-clearing fires worsened, a report said Friday.

By late Thursday, the air pollution index had reached "unhealthy" levels in six out of 10 monitoring stations around the state, including major urban centers, the Department of Environment said on its Web site.

Deputy Chief Minister George Chan was quoted by The Star newspaper as saying there were 200 cases on Thursday of respiratory ailments such as asthma in the state, located on Borneo island, compared to the usual 40 or 50 a day. Those working outdoors will be given priority in receiving the masks, the report said. Chan was not immediately available for comment.

Land-clearing fires approved by the state government on plantations have raged out of control due to dry weather, destroying some 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres) of oil palm plantations and contributing to the deteriorating air quality, the newspaper said.

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