Heightened activity at Sinabung unlikely to affect S'pore: NEA

Heightened activity at Sinabung unlikely to affect S'pore: NEA

SINGAPORE - An intensification of volcanic activity at Mount Sinabung, in Medan, North Sumatra, is not likely to affect Singapore, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Saturday.

The volcano, which is located 650km away from Singapore, has been in a state of intermittent volcanic activity since mid-September last year. To date, Singapore has not been affected by the volcanic ash from this volcanic activity.

Dispersion model simulations by the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) as well as the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre indicate that over the next one to two days, volcanic ash is expected to move south, but will be confined within the northern half of Sumatra.

The likelihood of volcanic ash affecting Singapore is low and the 24-hr PSI is expected to remain in the Good band.

A slight deterioration in air quality will happen if some volcanic ash reaches Singapore under current conditions.

NEA said that MSS will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates on developments.

The most frequent health problems that occur among people who have been exposed to volcanic ash are acute respiratory symptoms, stress and eye irritations. People with cardio-respiratory problems could also experience exacerbation of their illnesses. People with existing lung diseases such as asthma, bronchitis or emphysema, as well as older adults and children are also volatile when exposed to volcanic ash.

The severity of these problems is affected by the concentration of ash and the duration of exposure to ash. The amount of ash that may reach Singapore is likely to be small and the duration relatively short, posing little or no health risk to the public, NEA said.

The public may refer to the NEA website for regular updates on the situation. The 24-hr PSI is used as the reference to measure air quality during a volcanic ash situation as the volcanic ash particles are in the PM10 range and included in the PSI.

The public may access PSI updates through the following channels:

  • Weather@SG website
  • NEA Twitter
  • NEA Call Centre at 1800 CALL NEA (1800 2255 632)
  • NEA myENV App on iPhone and Android

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