Haze remains at unhealthy levels

Haze remains at unhealthy levels

The haze remains at unhealthy levels in Singapore on Sunday Sep 15, 2019
The haze remains at unhealthy levels in Singapore on Sunday Sep 15, 2019. (Photo: Mubin Saadat)

SINGAPORE: Air quality in Singapore remained at unhealthy levels on Sunday (Sep 15) morning.

The 24-hour PSI stood at 124 in the west, 121 in the south, 107 in the east, 111 in the north and 108 in the central region as at 8am. 

According to the National Environment Agency (NEA), PSI readings of 50 and below denote “good” air quality, “moderate” for 51-100 and “unhealthy” for 101-200.

READ: Haze hits unhealthy levels in Singapore as PSI exceeds 100 for the first time in 3 years

READ: Stronger ASEAN cooperation needed to tackle haze, says Masagos as Singapore offers help to Indonesia

The one-hour PM2.5 concentration reading ranged from 26-37µg/m3 at 8am, within the normal range. 

PM2.5 is a measure of tiny particles less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter in the air. When the PM2.5 reading is in the elevated range, haze particles can affect the heart and lungs, especially in people who have chronic heart or lung conditions. Those with such conditions should ensure that they have their medication on hand, NEA said.

According to NEA, one-hour PM2.5 readings are a "good indicator of current air quality", and can be used for those deciding whether to go for immediate outdoor activities, such as a jog.

The PSI reading reached the unhealthy level for the first time on Saturday since August 2016 as it surpassed the 100 mark. 

Readings inched up throughout the evening and by midnight.

When air quality is at the unhealthy range, people – especially children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with heart or lung conditions – should reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor activities. Those who are not feeling well should seek medical attention, NEA said.

NEA has assured the public that there are sufficient stocks of the N95 masks. 

"We would like to assure the public that there are sufficient stocks in the warehouses and Government stockpiles," said the agency on Facebook. 

haze singapore
HDB blocks in Jurong East shrouded in haze on Sep 14, 2019. (Photo: Kevin Kwang)

"We are working with the retailers to move available stocks to the retail shops, and stocks will be available progressively from today (Sunday)."


HAZY CONDITIONS EXPECTED TO PERSIST

In its media advisory on Saturday evening, NEA said that the air quality worsened in the afternoon due to a confluence of winds over the nearby region that led to more smoke haze from Sumatra being blown towards Singapore.

Hazy conditions are expected to persist for the rest of the day, it added. 

And over the next 24 hours, the PSI could enter the mid-section of the unhealthy range if denser haze is blown in. 

A total of 450 hotspots were detected mostly in the Riau, Jambi and South Sumatra provinces, said NEA, a sharp increase from the 156 hotpots detected on Friday.

"Moderate to dense smoke haze from persistent hotspots in Riau and Jambi has been blown by the prevailing winds to affect Singapore and the southern parts of Peninsular Malaysia," it noted. 

READ: Indonesia locked in epic battle against forest fires

READ: More than 300 schools in Johor to close as air quality reaches 'very unhealthy' level

Forest fires have raged through parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan in recent weeks, prompting the Indonesian government to send in military and police to douse the flames.

In Malaysia, air quality dropped to "unhealthy" levels in and around Kuala Lumpur, according to the government's air pollutant index, and the skyline has been shrouded in thick smog.

Follow us on Telegram for the latest on the haze: https://cna.asia/telegram

Source: CNA/mn

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