S'pore air quality reaching 'unhealthy' range as PSI rises

S'pore air quality reaching 'unhealthy' range as PSI rises

SINGAPORE - Singapore's Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) rose a shocking approximate 20 points in a space of a day, as air quality here worsens due to increasing hotspot activity in Sumatra.

The PSI reading for the whole of Singapore as of 8am today was in the 65 to 75 range, as compared to the 53 to 56 range the same time yesterday.

Normal PSI reading is in the 0 to 50 range. Air quality in the 51 to 100 range places it in the 'moderate' category while anything above 100 in considered 'unhealthy'.

Today's highest PSI reading was recorded at 8am in the North (PSI 75), followed by central (PSI 72) and the west (PSI 69).

At 12 noon, the overall PSI reading improved marginally by about three to five points to the 60 to 72 range.

NEA said it has observed an increase in hotspot activities in Sumatra over the past week, which might have contributed to the hazy conditions over here.

A weather forecaster from Indonesia interviewed by The Straits Times said that the haze in Singapore was likely from forest fires concentrated in the provinces of Jambi and South Sumatra.

The current Southwest Monsoon season sees winds blowing predominantly from the southeast or southwest. This results in smoke from hotspot activities in Sumatra and Borneo, where weather is dry, being blown towards Singapore.

On a brighter note, prevailing winds are expected to turn and blow from the southeast or south. This will bring a gradual improvement to the hazy conditions from Friday onwards, NEA said.

However, for the time being, Singapore could still experience slight hazy conditions on some days of the following week.

NEA issued a health advisory advising those suffering from heart or lung disease, children and the elderly to reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.

yamadak@sph.com.sg

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