Haze from Indonesia chokes Singapore

2013-06-18 12:11
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Singapore - Singaporeans rolled back military training, kept cough-stricken children indoors and considered wearing protective masks to work on Tuesday after a smoky haze triggered by forest fires in neighbouring 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 on 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 on 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 neighbour 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, defence ministry spokesperson Colonel Kenneth Liow said the armed forces have "reduced physical and outdoor training accordingly" after the pollution index exceeded 100.

Respiratory problems

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.

- AP
Read more on:    singapore  |  indonesia
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Travel

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Senior JAVA Developer

Western Cape
Pebble Stone Recruitment Pty Ltd
R40 000 - R75 000 Per Month

LOGISTICS CONTROLLER

Bellville
Persona Staff

Java Developer

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R30 000 - R35 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is a good day to network and share your ideas and thoughts with your colleagues and friends. Information overload is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.