PSI hits 81 in East region of Singapore; haze task force on standby with action plans: NEA
The PSI has progressed into the Moderate range (51-100).
The 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) in the East region of Singapore has risen to 81 as of Friday (Sep 29), announced the National Environment Agency (NEA).
It has exceeded the Good range (0-50), and is now in the Moderate range (51-100).
This news comes amid an increase in the number of hotspots over Sumatra in the past few days, with 241 and 145 hotspots detected on Wednesday (Sep 27) and Thursday (Sep 28) respectively.
Moderate to dense smoke haze was also observed over parts of south and central Sumatra.
According to NEA, nearby winds are expected to continue blowing from the southeast and keep the dense haze away from Singapore.
While there is a low chance of Singapore experiencing severe haze in the coming days, the PSI may deteriorate further if there is a shift in wind direction, NEA added.
In view of this, the Government’s Haze Task Force (HTF) is prepared to launch its haze action plans should the air quality deteriorate into the Unhealthy range (101-200).
Formed in 1994 and chaired by NEA, the HTF is a coordinated effort across the whole government.
It is made up of 28 public agencies, including organisations such as the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) and the Ministry of Education (MOE).
The member agencies of the HTF have proposed haze action plans for specific groups of the community, should the PSI reach the Unhealthy range.
For instance, MOH has put in place haze preparedness measures in their healthcare institutions, such as using air purifiers and fans, and reducing ambient temperature by deploying portable air coolers where appropriate.
Patients will also be monitored closely for possible health effects of the haze, and health professionals will institute appropriate medical intervention where necessary, said MOH and NEA.
MOE has continuity plans to ensure the safety of students, such as equipping all primary and secondary schools, MOE kindergartens and special education schools with air purifiers.
Teachers will be instructed to be on the lookout for students who are unwell or have pre-existing lung or heart conditions, added NEA.
As for mask-wearing, the HTF explains that N95 masks are generally not required for short periods of exposure, such as commuting to and from places, or when in an indoor environment.
However, individuals who need to be outdoors for a prolonged period of time when the 24-hour PSI is in the Hazardous range (>300) should opt to wear an N95 mask to reduce exposure.
Senior citizens, pregnant women and persons with lung or heart problems should consult a doctor before proceeding to use an N95 mask, advised NEA.
The HTF also assured that there are sufficient stocks of N95 masks in warehouses and government stockpiles.
Members of the public can account for their own health by referring to the current 1-hour PM2.5 concentration and the corresponding 1-hour PM2.5 personal guide, when planning their strenuous or outdoor activities throughout the day.
There are also more common measures Singaporeans can take to minimise the effect of harmful haze particles, should the PSI continue to worsen.
NEA will continue to closely monitor the haze situation and provide further updates and daily haze advisories if the situation changes.
Current air quality readings and more information are available on NEA’s website and the myENV app.