Schools across Sri Lanka have been closed as health and environment officials warned that air quality in most parts of the island was unhealthy, partly due to extreme weather conditions .
Polluted air from neighboring India is exacerbating the problem, officials say, as a storm in the Bay of Bengal brought heavy rain and winds across Sri Lanka in recent days.
A haze hung over the capital, Colombo, and other parts of the country, with the level of fine particles in the air reaching unhealthy levels.
“Current pollution has arisen due to the combination of local air pollutants and transboundary air pollution,” said the National Building Research Organization, a state agency involved in environmental monitoring and risk management.
“This condition can be seen in all parts of Sri Lanka and has a tendency to cause health problems,” he added.
Director General of Health Services Asela Gunawardena said the disease would continue for the next two weeks and advised people to limit their time outdoors and wear masks outside to minimize the risk for health
At least two people were killed and two others injured due to heavy rains and winds that hit many parts of Sri Lanka in the last two days. Dozens of houses were damaged by falling trees and several roads were closed.
The Meteorological Department said a strong cyclonic storm was in the Bay of Bengal, about 143 miles northeast of Sri Lanka, and was likely to move towards India.