Haze Situation Update (3 September 2015)

Singapore, 3 September 2015 – Singapore has been experiencing hazy conditions since early this morning. As at 2pm today, the 24-hr PSI was 80-88, in the Moderate range and the 1-hour PM2.5 was 47-69 µg/m3. The air quality is expected to move into the low end of the Unhealthy range over the next few hours.

2 The haziness is due to the spread of smoke haze from Sumatra under weakening wind conditions over Singapore. The latest satellite image today shows persisting widespread moderate to dense smoke haze in central and southern Sumatra. For the rest of today, the current hazy conditions are expected to persist. The 24-hour PSI for today is expected to be in the low end of the Unhealthy range.

3  For the next few days, the hotspot and haze situation in Sumatra is not likely to change significantly under the current dry weather conditions. Occasional hazy conditions can thus be expected to persist for the next one to two days. Conditions will improve should the wind speeds pick up. However, the haze situation in Singapore may also deteriorate if the prevailing winds shift to blow from the south or southwest.

4 The Chief Executive Officer of the National Environment Agency (NEA), Mr Ronnie Tay, wrote to his Indonesian counterpart two days ago to register Singapore’s concerns over the situation and to seek an urgent update on the ground situation. NEA also reiterated Singapore’s offer to Indonesia of its assistance package to help combat the haze problem there. NEA had first contacted them two weeks ago in view of the deteriorating hotspot situation in Sumatra then, and will continue to be in touch with them going forward.

5  With the escalation of hotspot activities over Sumatra, the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) advised on 1 September 2015 that the conditions/trigger points for Alert Level 3¹ for Sumatra had been met. Alert Level 3 is raised when there are 250 or more hotspots detected on two consecutive days with dry weather conditions persisting and prevailing winds blowing towards other ASEAN countries. A total of 395 hotspots were detected in Sumatra yesterday.

6 The health impact of haze is dependent on one’s health status, the PSI level, and the length and intensity of outdoor activity. Reducing outdoor activities and physical exertion can help limit the ill effects from haze exposure. Given the air quality forecast for the next 24 hours, healthy persons should reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion. The elderly, pregnant women and children should minimise prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion, while those with chronic lung or heart disease should avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion. Persons who are not feeling well, especially the elderly and children, and those with chronic heart or lung conditions, should seek medical attention.

7  In response to public queries on participating in outdoor activities and open-air meetings, NEA advises the public to refer to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) advisory (http://bit.ly/1NOA1WJ), as well as NEA’s daily haze situation update.

8  NEA will continue to monitor the situation closely and issue updates as the need arises. For more information, visit our NEA website (www.nea.gov.sg), the haze microsite (www.haze.gov.sg), follow us on NEA Facebook (www.facebook.com/NEASingapore) and NEA Twitter (@NEAsg), or download the myENV app.

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¹The ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) has a regional warning system for the fire and haze situation based on three levels of alert. Alert Level 1 signifies the start of the dry season; Level 2 is activated when 150 hotspots or more are detected on two consecutive days, with dry weather conditions persisting and prevailing winds blowing towards other ASEAN countries. Alert Level 3 is when there are 250 or more hotspots detected on two consecutive days with dry weather conditions persisting and prevailing winds blowing towards other ASEAN countries. The alert levels are issued to the interim ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Transboundary Haze Pollution at the ASEAN Secretariat, which in turn disseminates it to the ASEAN member countries.