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Singapore air pollution jumps to PSI 371, in "hazardous" range again

As of 1pm today, the three-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) stood at 371. A PSI of above 300 means air quality is "hazardous" to health. -YourHealth

Thu, Jun 20, 2013

SINGAPORE - As of 1pm today, the three-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) stood at 371.

This is a steep jump from noon, when the haze was just two points away from re-entering "hazardous" levels.

At noon, the three-hour PSI reading stood at 299, before rising to 371 at 1pm. A PSI of above 300 means air quality is "hazardous" to health.

This is a steep climb from the 11am PSI reading of 198. The PSI started with 137 at 7am this morning.

The noon 24-hour PSI reading ranged from 169 to 196. The PM2.5 concentration, which refers to very fine particles, at noon was 232 to 291.

Drier weather conditions in the region have led to an escalation in hotspot activities mainly over central Sumatra. The number of hotspots detected over Sumatra has risen to 173 hotspots as of June 19.

The haze was brought over from the fires in Sumatra by prevailing winds blowing from the southwest or west, and has affected Singapore sinceJune 13. The National Environmental Agency (NEA) said that they expect the wind and weather conditions to remain constant and therefore the haze will persist.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) advised Singaporeans to limit prolonged or heavy outdoor activities. In particular, children, the elderly, and those with heart or lung diseases should avoid outdoor activities and seek medical treatment early if they feel unwell.

MOH has activated the hospitals to prepare for the anticipated increase in the number of cases of asthma, bronchitis and conjunctivitis.

Given the current haze situation, all 23 Government agencies that form the Inter-Agency Haze Task Force (HTF) have been activated and are co-ordinating their respective action plans to mitigate the effects of haze on the public.

The guidelines and advisories issued by the agencies to their respective sectors continue to be relevant. For example, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has disseminated guidelines on limiting outdoor physical activities in schools, and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) requires childcare centres and kindergartens to cancel all outdoor activities for the children and for the operators to monitor the health situation of the children closely.

In the case of a child falling sick, NEA said that his or her parents should be informed and medical attention sought immediately.

The Ministry of Defence has in place a set of guidelines to limit outdoor activities and training based on the PSI readings. This ensures that SAF troops can train safely by modifying the nature and intensity of outdoor activities.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is also adopting appropriate precautionary measures for the well-being of our Home Team officers and National Servicemen deployed for active duties, while ensuring that overall safety and security functions are not compromised.

The HTF will continue to monitor the situation closely. NEA assured members of the public that HTF agencies will provide further advisories should the haze situation deteriorate.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for the Environment and Water Resources had earlier conveyed the seriousness of the situation to their Indonesian counterparts and urged immediate action.

CEO of NEA, Mr Andrew Tan, will be leading a delegation to Jakarta today for an emergency haze meeting convened by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry.

For more haze updates from AsiaOne, click here:

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