Hazy skies returned to Singapore yesterday and are expected to darken part of the island today as well.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) said last night that the return of the haze was likely due to an accumulation of increased particulate matter in the atmosphere under the light wind conditions. "Burning activities in the northern ASEAN region, Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra could have contributed to the increased concentration of particulate matter," it added.
The day began yesterday with relatively clear skies, but the air quality deteriorated throughout most of the day, from 1am to 6pm, before improving slightly in the night.
By 4pm, the three-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) had crossed 100, the threshold where air becomes unhealthy. The three-hour PSI averages air quality readings in the previous three hours.
By 5pm, even the 24-hour index, which the Government has said is a better indicator of whether people should worry about their health, had inched close to that threshold, ranging from 69 to 92 across the island.
People in eastern Singapore, where the haze was worst yesterday evening, said they were worried that the burning smell was here to stay. "I was really hoping we wouldn't have to go through the face masks and air purifiers again," said 28-year-old sales assistant Joy Thng.
The NEA said hazy conditions can still be expected today, although the 24-hour PSI is expected to be in the moderate range.
Everyone can continue with normal activities given the air quality forecast, but people who are not feeling well should seek medical attention, it said.
This article was first published on Mar 21, 2015.
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