PEKANBARU, Riau: MORE than 10,000 petty traders at Dumai were affected by the haze that has blanketed the province for more than a week.
These traders said shoppers were reluctant to step out of their houses as the situation was worsening and they allegedly lost over 50 per cent of their daily income over the past three days.
The Riau local government had issued an emergency at several districts due to the worsening haze.
A food trader, Mansur Surdin, 57, when met yesterday, said even though no operators stopped their businesses, the haze was crippling their daily activities and trade.
“On a normal day, I can earn around one million rupiah (RM340) by selling satay, but my business not is not so good due to the haze.”
Mansur feared that if the situation prolonged, the traders would not be able to make enough money to sustain their stall rentals and daily operation budget.
Not only the food stall traders were affected, toy store operators were in not spared.
Toy store operator, Nurul Eryanti, 27, blamed the haze for the absence of customers, especially tourists.
She said before the haze, her shop were frequented by Malaysians and Singaporeans on holiday.
Although the haze in Dumai is not as severe as Pekanbaru, the spillover effect is the same especially for traders.
“All of us are running our businesses as usual, but unfortunately, the daily returns are not encouraging,” Nurul said.
A survey by local Malay daily, Berita Harian, at the surrounding areas of Dumai, found that the locals were still carrying on their daily lives as usual despite the haze.
It was learnt that the Air Pollutant Index (API) for Riau was at a worrying state, and schools in the province were ordered to close for the past three days by the Indonesian authorities.
Meanwhile, Dumai Department of Environment head Bambang Surianto said the despite the heavy rainfall on Wednesday, the province was still covered in haze.
“The API reading right now is at the unhealthy level, breaching 200, with a visibility of 500 metres.
“The situation is being monitored very closely as a precautionary measure, especially to protect villagers who are of the high risk category,” he added.