Haze may return if wind changes

SINGAPORE - The clear skies and clean air that Singapore has enjoyed for a month now may soon be gone if the haze makes a comeback.

The number of hotspots in Indonesia as tracked by satellites has gone up sharply in the last two days, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Sunday.

There were 261 hotspots, of which 173 were detected in Riau province in central Sumatra, about 280km from Singapore.

As the winds have been from the southeast or south, the smoke haze was not blown this way.

But some parts of peninsular Malaysia have been experiencing a deterioration in air quality since Saturday morning, with the pollution approaching unhealthy levels.

Over Monday and Tuesday, dry weather conditions were expected to persist in most parts of Sumatra.

"Should the winds change to blow from the west or southwest, Singapore may experience hazy conditions. For (today), partly cloudy conditions are expected, though we could experience slight haziness," NEA said.

"However, the air quality is still expected to be good. Should there be a change in the wind direction to blow from the west, Singapore may then experience hazy conditions."

Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Foreign Affairs Grace Fu gave an update on the ministerial meeting on the haze held in Kuala Lumpur last week.

"It's always about just building trust as well as confidence," Channel NewsAsia quoted her as saying. "We have very good satellite pictures. We have very good ideas where the hotspots are.

"There is some information about concessions on the Internet that has actually surfaced through non-government sources... So this is a good start... and we hope that official data can also be put on the public platform."


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