Do more to protect kids when air quality drops

A girl uses her mask as she helps her father sell rice at a stall at Rambutan village in Banyuasin, Indonesia.
A girl uses her mask as she helps her father sell rice at a stall at Rambutan village in Banyuasin, Indonesia. PHOTO: REUTERS

With the haze set to become an annual health hazard, the authorities should look into ways to minimise its effects on the young, especially primary and secondary school students.

Unlike tertiary institutions, most primary and secondary school buildings do not have enough air-conditioned facilities to house students in the event of deteriorating air quality.

Keeping windows closed would prove too stuffy for classrooms filled with 30 to 40 children, for up to six hours.

Even if schools stop all outdoor activities, students will still be affected by the haze if their classrooms are not air-conditioned.

Schools should be fitted with more air-conditioned rooms to house students during severe haze, and masks should be distributed to them.

Irene Louis (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2015, with the headline 'Do more to protect kids when air quality drops'. Print Edition | Subscribe