As PSI rises, sales of face masks soar

S'poreans also stock up on eye drops to protect themselves from haze

SINGAPOREANS are taking their own precautions as hazy conditions persist by stocking up on products to protect themselves.

Sales of products such as face masks and eye drops surged over the past few days, as the three-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reached a high of 155 on Monday night.

At Watsons, face mask and eye drop sales rose by 80 per cent and 50 per cent respectively, said its merchandising and marketing director Micheas Chan.

This amounted to more than 2,500 face masks and 1,000 boxes of eye drops being sold daily across its stores during this period.

A Guardian spokesman said that as of yesterday, it had sold seven times more face masks than the previous week. Some 1,000 face masks were sold on Monday alone. She added that it sold 30 per cent to 70 per cent more eye drops, and 30 per cent to 50 per cent more lozenges, on Monday than the day before.

Air purifier sales have also risen. A spokesman for Air and Odor Management, an indoor air quality company, said: "We sold about 15 per cent to 20 per cent more air purifiers in the past two days, and inquiries for them also doubled to about 50 a day."

People are also turning to online sites to buy such items. E-marketplace Qoo10 Singapore said that sales of masks and air purifiers increased 50 per cent on Sunday, and doubled on Monday.

Among those taking measures to protect themselves was violin teacher Elle Lim, 25, who bought a pack of 10 face masks from a Unity pharmacy on Monday evening.

"Monday's haze was so bad, and I have asthma, so I wanted to prepare myself so that I don't fall sick," she said.

The haze has also affected rental of bicycles at kiosks like Coastline Leisure Bike Station and Lifestyle Bike N Skate at East Coast Park. Both said they usually rent 200 to 300 bicycles a day, but managed only about 100 on Monday.

But they are hopeful business will remain strong. Coastline Leisure Bike Station's manager, who wanted to be known only as Mr Ang, 57, said: "There will surely be kids coming by to rent. After all, it is the school holidays."

Security guard Lee Kok Yew, 43, braved the haze with his wife and two children yesterday to go swimming at the Sengkang Swimming Complex.

"The haze has improved and is nothing actually, and swimming is a good way to cool down in this hot weather," he said.

Additional reporting by Fabian Koh and Lester Wong