Haze over weekend from bush fire in southern Johor: NEA

SINGAPORE - The slightly hazy conditions and smoke smell experienced in several areas in Singapore over the weekend were caused by a landfill fire in Malaysia.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Sunday that its Malaysian counterparts had confirmed a bush fire started at a landfill site in Pasir Gudang, southern Johor on the evening of Feb 12.

"The Malaysian authorities have highlighted that activities are underway to put out the fire in the areas and cap burnt areas with soil to prevent fires from recurring," the NEA said in a haze and air quality update on Sunday.

"They are monitoring the situation closely, to prevent the fire from spreading further."

The agency added that some residents in Sengkang, Hougang and Serangoon experienced localised haze and odour on Sunday morning, although there were no reports of fires in those areas. It assured that air quality in Singapore has remained in the moderate range.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan said on his Facebook on Sunday night that Singapore stands ready to assist if requested by the Malaysian authorities.

As of 8am on Monday, the three-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) was 60, in the moderate range of 51-100. The 24-hour reading stood at 53-62.

yeosamjo@sph.com.sg