Quantcast
Latest Stories

Singapore fumes after pollution hits 16-year high


SINGAPORE, Singapore: A man takes pictures in front of the Marina Bay Sands hotel as it is blanketed by haze in Singapore on June 17, 2013. Air pollution from forest fires in Indonesia’s Sumatra island reached severe levels in Singapore on June 17, triggering a health alert in the densely populated city-state. AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN

SINGAPORE — Singaporeans rolled back military training, kept cough-stricken children indoors and considered wearing protective masks to work Tuesday after a smoky haze triggered by forest fires in neighboring Indonesia caused air pollution to briefly hit its worst level in nearly 16 years.

The Pollutant Standards Index, Singapore’s main measure to determine air quality, crept into the “unhealthy” classification Monday as smoke from roaring blazes on Indonesia’s Sumatra island drifted across the sea and cast a gray pall over the city-state’s skyscrapers.

The index reached a reading of 155 Monday night, the highest level since late 1997, when officials reported a 226 reading.

On Tuesday, the reading mostly hovered between 104 and 123, still within the “unhealthy” range of between 101 and 200.

Smoke haze is a nearly annual problem for Singapore and its northern neighbor Malaysia, often beginning in the middle of the year when farmers in Indonesia seek to clear land cheaply by starting fires. The issue sometimes strains ties between the countries, with Malaysia and Singapore urging Indonesia to do more to prevent illegal burning.

Malaysia has been only lightly affected so far this year, with pollution readings in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s largest city, not breaching the unhealthy mark Tuesday. Indonesia has reportedly said part of the current problem is caused by peat blazes that firefighters are struggling to put out amid hot, dry weather.

In Singapore, defense ministry spokesman Col. Kenneth Liow said the armed forces have “reduced physical and outdoor training accordingly” after the pollution index exceeded 100.

Landscaper Hedrick Kwan blamed the haze after his two young sons started coughing as an acrid smell of burning filled the air.

“When they woke up today, it was worse,” he said. “We usually leave the windows open but now we can’t do that because of all the dust and smoke.”

The National Environment Agency has advised Singaporeans, especially the elderly, young children and people with respiratory problems, to avoid prolonged exposure outdoors.

Melissa Cheah, a financial sector worker, said her office has discussed the possibility of advising employees to wear protective face masks.

Singapore’s Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said his agency is offering assistance to Indonesia to put out the forest fires.

Hospitals and clinics are bracing for more patients in the week ahead.

“Based on what we have seen over the years, when the haze hits us, it takes about three to four days before we see all these additional patients coming in for medication,” said family physician Sarani Ng Omar, who expected a rise in asthma-related cases, nasal problems and eye inflammation.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Air pollution , air quality , Haze , Singapore , smog




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  2. Chinese lawyers say they were tortured by police
  3. Hair salon’s Kim Jong Un poster riles embassy
  4. Why college grads end up in the PNP
  5. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  6. Town, DENR play tug-of-war over crocodile
  7. Five men from Cavite found dead in jeep in Batangas
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  9. Siquijor ‘healer’: For every cure, there’s a plant
  10. Motorcycle race ends in shooting; 1 killed, 6 hurt
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. Massage attendant arrested on rape complaint filed by Japanese tourist
  3. ‘Tell no one’ Makati bettor won P250M lotto
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  6. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  7. North Korea uses flamethrower to execute official
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  10. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
Advertisement

News

  • Luzon grid power reserve ‘enough’ for Holy Week
  • Pimentel proposes incentives for companies that will hire ex-convicts
  • State seeks guilty verdict for Abalos
  • SBMA execs, 2 others face graft raps
  • Pangasinan beachgoers warned vs jellyfish
  • Sports

  • My ideal weight is 140, declares Pacquiao
  • Freddie Roach: I’m satisfied; Manny Pacquiao did well
  • New-look Azkals tie Qatari side
  • San Miguel Beermen eye No. 2 slot, battle Air21 Express
  • Filipinos yield to Iraqis anew Asian club volley
  • Lifestyle

  • Celebrate Easter Sunday at Buddha-Bar Manila
  • Moriones feast: A slow, steady transformation
  • Weaving ‘palaspas’ a tradition kept alive in Tayabas City
  • Finalists announced for best translated books
  • Summer treat for your aspiring astronomers
  • Entertainment

  • Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels US concert
  • Otaku Summer Jam 2014: Summer’s hottest J-rock/Cosplay event
  • 2NE1 returns to Manila with “All Or Nothing” Tour
  • Gary Valenciano just keeps moving
  • Noisy celeb spews venom, backs off when confronted
  • Business

  • Longer TRO sought on rate hike
  • Make a stylish statement with the all-new Yaris
  • Hearing set in Olarte case
  • BOC sues steel importers
  • BIR continues to miss collection target
  • Technology

  • Tech company: change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Philippines may watch ‘blood moon’ online
  • Opinion

  • We may never know
  • Couple of things
  • Mommy D’s magic
  • Stop bizarre and bloody Good Friday rituals
  • Holy Week taboos
  • Global Nation

  • No travel restrictions to Middle East amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Measures set against entry of MERS-CoV
  • Japan backs PH in case before UN
  • Las Vegas union starts pickets over wages, benefits
  • Fil-Am Daly City councilor has eye on Superior Court seat
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement