Indonesian haze worsens, compromise Southern Mindanao air quality

As Inodnesian-triggered haze worsens Southern Mindanao air quality, health officials in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on Friday as it released an advisory for the public to stay indoors to avoid suffering from respiratory diseases.

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”Don’t underestimate the ill effects of haze. It’s worsening the already compromised quality of air that we breathe imposing health risks to everybody,” Dr. Kadil Sinolinding, Jr, regional secretary for Department of Health-ARMM said.

Sinolinding said the haze, which engulfed most parts of Mindanao and forced cancellation of airline flights to and from major cities to Manila, is a fine dusk, smoke, or light vapor, causing lack of transparency in the air.

Haze has been in Mindanao skies since Oct. 17 brought by winds from vast forest fires in Indonesia. In previous years wildfires caused by the slash and burn practice to clear the lands for palm plantations in Sumatra and Kalimantan were causing haze and smoke fog.

”The haze aggravates the quality of the air that we breathe and some people may experience the following signs and symptoms, namely eye irritation, itchy and runny nose, sneezing, dry throat and coughs,” Sinolinding said.

The health agency advised the people to take adequate amount of water, drink cough preparations if cough is manifested, OTC (over the counter) antihistamines for allergic reaction or upon the advice of a physician.

”Everyone is encouraged to stay indoors and joggers should wear protective masks or forego activities until the air clears,” he added.

Weather specialist Charlene Jamero of Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) said PAL and Cebu Pacific flights to Cotabato from Manila remained cancelled. Air travel to and from the Cotabato airport had been suspended since Saturday last week.(PNA)

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