Haze may affect Singapore this weekend, says NEA

SINGAPORE, Oct 7: Singapore is likely to experience haze over the weekend if the fires in Sumatra persist and the wind direction is unfavourable, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said.

“There has been a significant increase in the number of hotspots in Sumatra, with 212 detected on Oct 6, compared with 65 and 15 on Oct 5 and Oct 4, respectively,” it said on its website.

NEA said smoke plumes and haze were observed from satellite imagery over southern and central Sumatra.

“A brief shift in the wind direction on Friday (Oct 6) afternoon, from southeasterly to southerly, blew some of the lighter haze toward Singapore and caused a deterioration in air quality,” it said.

NEA noted that the 1-hour PM2.5 levels in the southern and eastern parts of Singapore entered elevated levels (above 55 ug/m3) in the afternoon of Oct 6, and remained elevated at 10 pm.

“Should the situation persist, the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) could enter the Unhealthy range (PSI >100) over the weekend,” it said.

NEA said it will begin providing daily haze advisories from the evening of Oct 7.

The daily haze advisory includes the 24-hour PSI forecast, which can be used by the public in planning their activities and events for the next 24 hours, it said.

NEA said advisories have earlier been issued to various sectors including healthcare institutions, pre-schools, schools, and workplaces to remind them to take appropriate haze management measures should the 24-hour PSI enter the unhealthy range, especially to protect more vulnerable groups.