Unhealthy air quality expected to persist till Sunday: NEA

PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - The unhealthy air quality that has persisted for most of today is expected to last till tomorrow, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said in an update today.

The agency said at 8pm that the the air quality for the next 24 hours is forecast to be between the mid-section of the unhealthy range and the low end of the very unhealthy range, and may enter the mid-section of the unhealthy range if denser haze is blown in.

Since 4am today, the 24-hour Pollutants Standard Index (PSI) had been in the very unhealthy range before dropping to the high end of the unhealthy range at 9pm, with a reading of 159-198. The three-hour PSI was 127.

According to Channel NewsAsia, several events around Singapore were cancelled as a result of the haze, such as the WTA Future Stars youth competition, the Singapore Athletics Inter Club Championships and the Healthy Lifestyle Festival SG roadshow at Hougang Central Hub.

The annual Sultan of Selangor Cup football match between Selangor and Singapore at the Shah Alam Stadium in Selangor was also cancelled, Malaysia's The Star reported.

The NEA said that total of four and 324 hotspots were detected in Sumatra and Kalimantan respectively today.

"The low count for Sumatra was due to partial satellite pass. Parts of central and southern Sumatra continue to be affected by moderate to dense haze. Widespread moderate to dense haze is observed over Kalimantan and some of the haze continues to spread to our surrounding sea areas," the NEA added.

Meanwhile, the 40-man Singapore team deployed to help put out forest fires in Sumatra returned this afternoon after a two-week operation.

In a Facebook post, Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen thanked the team, comprising personnel from the Singapore Armed Forces and Singapore Civil Defence Force, and said Indonesian leaders have realised that prevention and enforcement are key in preventing this "environmental disaster" from recurring.

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huizhen@sph.com.sg

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