Smoke haze from forest fires in Sumatra hits Singapore

On Thursday 20 June 2013 at 1pm, the Pullutant Standards Index (PSI) in Singapore reached a record high of 371, indicating the hazardous level of the air pollution in city. Today at 12pm the PSI worsened and hit its peak at 401. It is visible across the island, shrouding landmarks like Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer.

Singapore’s environment minister Vivian Balakrishnan said he is “deeply concerned that the 113 hotspots detected over Sumatra have led to such a bad haze in Singapore”.

Residents are not recommended any outdoor activity. Pregnant women, the elderly and people with respiratory diseases should stay indoors and wear a N95 mask if they stay outside.

The tourism sector has also taken a hit from the haze, with the Singapore Flyer and DUCKtours announcing they would suspend operations until conditions improve.

Other outdoor attractions saw slight dips in visitor numbers, while tour operators leading inbound groups to Singapore have had to adjust itineraries to carry out more activities indoors, although they have yet to receive cancellations.

Livelihoods of small-time vendors, such as trishaw drivers plying the streets, are also suffering a blow from the poor air quality.

While the situation is still unpredictable as it depends on weather, wind and the number of wildfires, a lot of Singaporeans and expatriates have already arranged for a weekend escape outside Singapore.

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Embassy of Denmark in Singapore

Channel News Asia





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