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NEA: Persistent Sumatran forest fires may cause increasingly “unhealthy” air in Singapore

The Independent logo The Independent 5 days ago Shech
a close up of a map © The Independent Singapore

Singapore — Singaporeans, prepare for more polluted air as the situation in Sumatra worsens.

The National Environment Agency warned of increasingly “unhealthy” air quality.

On Tuesday evening, the 24-hour Pollutant Standard Index (PSI) ranged between 85 and 96. A PSI ranging from 101 and 200 is categorized as unhealthy.

The PSI for the next 24 hours is predicted to fall under the high and moderate range.

The NEA stated that “Depending on wind conditions, the PSI may enter the unhealthy range if the haze situation in Sumatra persists or worsens.”

There are ongoing forest fires throughout Sumatra and Kalimantan over the past weeks. The NEA also identified 749 hotspots in Kalimantan and 537 in Sumatra.

Farmers set fire to the forests and peatlands in order to clear the land for palm oil and pulp plantations for multinational corporations. Indonesia is reportedly one of the five largest carbon emitters in the world due to this deforestation practice.

Indonesia’s climate agency, however, disputed the claims that the smog in neighbouring countries is coming from forest fires.

Malaysia is also experiencing “unhealthy” levels of air pollutants. The city skyline in Kuala Lumpur is overcast with a thick smog, and hundreds of schools in the Sarawak state closed down due to the haze.

Due to the forecast of haze, the NEA advised the public to reduce prolonged strenuous outdoor activity and physical exertion.

Persons who are no longer feeling well and are suffering from chronic lung or heart diseases are advised to seek immediate medical attention./TISG

2,500 fire hotspots detected by satellites in the region


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