Hazy conditions persist, but improving

Hazy conditions persist, but improving
Haze as seen at the Marina Bay circuit from Swissotel The Stamford at 645pm on Sunday.

SINGAPORE - The haze situation in Singapore appears to be showing improvement, although the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) remains in the moderate range.

The three-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) dipped to 62 at noon today, down from 71 from the hour before. This brings it within the "moderate" range of 51 to 100 PSI value. A PSI value of 101 to 200 indicates "unhealthy" levels of air pollution.

Singapore experienced rapidly deteriorating hazy conditions yesterday evening. At 9pm yesterday, the three-hour PSI peaked at 129.

The haziness is due to smoke haze blown in from Sumatra by the prevailing winds, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said in an update on its website yesterday.

"Singapore is experiencing deteriorating hazy conditions due to an incoming haze cloud from Sumatra," Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said in a Facebook post yesterday evening.

The prevailing winds are forecast to blow from the southeast or south, and intermittent haze is expected to persist today, NEA said.

"We may experience occasional hazy conditions during the day. The overall air quality tomorrow (Sept 22) is expected to fluctuate between the high-end of the Moderate range and the low-end of the Unhealthy range," NEA said.

The total number of hotspots detected in Sumatra and Kalimantan yesterday was 64 and 73 respectively, mostly in the southern parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan. Widespread smoke haze was visible in southern Kalimantan.

NEA added that the health impact of haze is dependent on one's health status, the PSI level, and the length and intensity of outdoor activity.

Reducing outdoor activities and physical exertion can help limit the ill effects from haze exposure. "Given the air quality forecast for tomorrow, healthy persons should reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion. The elderly, pregnant women and children should minimise prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion, while those with chronic lung or heart disease should avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion," NEA said.

In addition, those who are not feeling well - especially the elderly and children, and those with chronic heart or lung conditions - should seek medical attention, NEA advised.

For updates, visit NEA's websites at www.nea.gov.sg, the haze microsite at www.haze.gov.sg, or follow NEA at www.facebook.com/NEASingapore or Twitter handle @NEAsg.

yamadak@sph.com.sg

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