Air Quality in Singapore remains unhealthy due to haze

UPDATED: 11:08 PM, SEPTEMBER 15, 2015
 SINGAPORE — Showers in the late morning and afternoon brought a brief respite from the haze today (Sept 15) with the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) levels dipping in the evening, although air quality remained at unhealthy levels.

As at 11pm, the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) was 108-127 while the three-hour PSI was at 108. Air quality is considered unhealthy when the 24-hour PSI is between 101 and 200.

Hazy conditions can still be expected tomorrow, and may worsen if denser haze from Sumatra is blown in by unfavourable winds, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) in its 7pm update. The 24-hour PSI for the next 24 hours is expected to be in the mid to high sections of the unhealthy range, and may enter the low section of the very unhealthy range (201-300) if denser haze from Sumatra is blown in.

Healthy persons are advised to avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion. The elderly, pregnant women and children should minimise outdoor activity, while those with chronic lung or heart disease should avoid outdoor activity. Persons who are not feeling well, especially the elderly and children, and those with chronic heart or lung conditions, should seek medical attention.

Earlier today, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said in a statement that it would adjust outdoor activities and training of Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) servicemen according to the haze situation. It has PSI-Activity Guidelines, formulated for the SAF population, that are consistent  with the National Environment Agency’s health advisories.

For 24-hour PSI reading below 100, activities will continue as per normal. When the 24-hour PSI is above 100, the SAF will adjust physical and outdoor activities accordingly to limit servicemen’s exposure to the haze. The guidelines take into account servicemen’s medical fitness and the nature of activities.

The SAF will also issue N95 masks to servicemen performing essential outdoor duties when the 24-hour PSI reading exceeds the very unhealthy range.

Adding that SAF training has largely continued, the statement said that “MINDEF/SAF remains in close contact with the Indonesian authorities and the SAF stands ready to support and assist Indonesia when activated”. Indonesia earlier accepted Singapore’s offer of assistance, but later said it has sufficient resources of its own for now.

Meanwhile, the Republic of Singapore Navy also said  in a Facebook post that its vessels will be continuing patrols in Singapore waters despite the haze reducing visibility to less than 0.5 mile.

The YouTube channel uploaded a video today, in Hokkien and with English and Mandarin subtitles, giving tips on how Singaporeans can take care of themselves and the elderly during this haze period.