Haze may enter unhealthy range, more than 500 hotspots in Sumatra: NEA

Tourists are silhouetted as they view Sentosa against the backdrop of the haze in 2015. (AP file photo)
Tourists are silhouetted as they view Sentosa against the backdrop of the haze in 2015. (AP file photo)

SINGAPORE — The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) may enter the unhealthy range if the haze situation in the Indonesian island of Sumatra persists or worsens, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) in its daily haze advisory on Tuesday (10 September).

The 1-hr PM2.5 concentration readings over the next 24 hours are expected to be in Band I (Normal) and Band II (Elevated), with the PSI for the next 24 hours forecast to be in the high end of the moderate range, added the agency.

As of 7pm on Tuesday, the 24-hr PSI was 86 to 96 in the moderate range, and the 1-hr PM2.5 concentration readings were 26 to 43 µg/m3 in Band I (Normal).

The agency also noted that 537 hotspots were detected in Sumatra, a sharp increase from 380 a day before, with moderate to dense smoke haze continuing to emanate from persistent hotspots in Riau and Jambi provinces.

“Some of the haze has been blown by the prevailing winds to affect several states in Peninsular Malaysia. Widespread smoke haze has also been observed over many parts of Kalimantan, where 749 hotspots were detected today,” said the NEA.

For the next few days, the weather over Sumatra is expected to remain dry and the haze is expected to persist there, added the agency.

The prevailing winds are forecast to blow from the southeast or south, and Singapore may continue to experience hazy conditions.

The NEA added that it is closely monitoring the situation and will provide further updates when necessary.

“Given the air quality forecast for the next 24 hours, healthy persons should reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion,” it said.

“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.”

The thick haze across the Malaysian state of Sarawak has forced the closure of hundreds of schools, affecting more than 157,000 students, according to local media reports.

The closure comes a day after a Malaysian official said that the country is prepared to carry out cloud seeding to induce rain in an effort to ease the smog.

Have a tip-off? Email us at sgnews.tips@verizonmedia.com. In your email, do provide as many details as possible, including videos and photos.

Related stories:

Sarawak closes 409 schools in state due to haze

Malaysia to make it rain as Indonesian smog pollutes air

Singapore's PSI level in 'moderate' range as number of Sumatra hotspots doubles