Haze in Singapore back at unhealthy levels on Saturday

Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany negotiates turn 13 during the first practice session of the 2015 Formula 1, Singapore Airlines, Singapore Grand Prix, on 18 September, 2015.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Air quality in Singapore hovered at unhealthy levels on Saturday, with the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) standing at 121 - 145 as of 12pm, up from 119 - 143 at 11am.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) had warned today (Sept 19) of the deteriorating haze situation, expecting the 24-hour PSI for the next 12 hours to be in the low to mid sections of the unhealthy range.

The PSI value for the unhealthy range is 101 - 200.

The 3-hour PSI, which is only an indicative reading with no linked health advisory, stands at 91 as of 7pm.

Explaining the cause of the worsening air quality, NEA said in its statement: "[The haze conditions] was due to haze from our surrounding region being blown in by the weak prevailing winds.

"Some haze from Kalimantan has continued to spread westward to the sea areas south of Singapore. For the rest of the day, hazy conditions can still be expected."

Regional Haze Map
Source: NEA

The Singapore Grand Prix practice sessions and concerts proceeded smoothly last night despite the haze enveloping the city skyline.

As the conditions worsened, Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam called his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi on Friday to convey Singapore's concerns.

Mr Retno told Mr Shanmugam that the names of errant companies suspected of causing the fires would be conveyed through Indonesia 's Ministry of Environment and Forestry to Singapore's Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.

Indonesia has been sending conflicting signals whether to accept Singapore's offer to fight the haze. Earlier, Channel NewsAsia reported that Indonesia's Vice President Jusuf Kalla had invited Singapore to help, only for his Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar to decline Singapore's offer.

Meanwhile, Malaysia has evacuated 221 of its citizens from Indonesia as the haze looks set to linger in the region.

grongloh@sph.com.sg

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