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S'pore can breathe easy for now

INDONESIA CHOKES: The Air Pollutant Index in Dumai, in Indonesia's Riau province, soared to 449 on Tuesday morning, a level deemed very hazardous. Singapore may experience slight haze occasionally.


    Feb 13, 2014

    S'pore can breathe easy for now

    THE likelihood of transboundary haze hitting Singapore is low as long as the prevailing wind is from the north-east, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said in an advisory on Tuesday night.

    But Singapore may experience slight haze occasionally, due to the accumulation of particulate matter under stable atmospheric conditions, The Straits Times reported.

    In Indonesia, visibility was down to 150m in Palembang, South Sumatra, and in Pekanbaru, Riau, yesterday morning, as an ongoing dry spell prolonged the unusually early onset of haze.

    Schools remained closed and several flights were cancelled or delayed. The number of hotspots in Sumatra was recorded at 283 yesterday, down from about 450 on Tuesday.

    In a Facebook post on Tuesday night, Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan wrote: "We will try to encourage them to take action - but we all know the welfare of close neighbours is not their priority.

    "Hard truths of regional politics."

    Last week, NEA chief executive Ronnie Tay and Mr Mark Low, the Singapore consul for Indonesia in Medan, met Deputy Governor Fachrori Umar of Sumatra's Jambi province to discuss the handling of the haze, reported The Jakarta Post.

    Last June, Singapore experienced its worst bout of haze, with the Pollutant Standards Index hitting a record high of 401 at one point.

    Malaysia is likely to escape severe haze until June, The Star reported, quoting the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MMD).

    MMD spokesman Hisham Mohd Anip said that, based on predicted wind patterns, the haze from forest fires was not expected to spread to Malaysia.

    The risk would be higher between June and August as the winds would likely change direction then.

    Air-quality updates for Singapore are available via,, or Twitter @NEAsg