Singapore registers 'deep concern' over worsening haze

The three-hour Pollutants Standard Index (PSI) rose further in the unhealthy range on Thursday night, hitting 193 at 9pm.
The three-hour Pollutants Standard Index (PSI) rose further in the unhealthy range on Thursday night, hitting 193 at 9pm.ST PHOTO: YEO KAI WEN

SINGAPORE - Singapore has registered its "deep concern" with the deteriorating haze situation to Indonesia, after air quality readings climbed to the year's high on Thursday (Sept 10).

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said that Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan conveyed Singapore's deep concern over the deteriorating haze situation to Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya Bakar on Thursday.

He called for urgent action to be undertaken, including stricter action against the perpetrators.

Dr Balakrishnan also requested information on those responsible for the haze, and reiterated Singapore's offer of an assistance package for Indonesia.

 

The three-hour Pollutants Standard Index (PSI) rose further in the unhealthy range on Thursday night, hitting 193 at 9pm. At midnight, it had reached the 'very unhealthy' reading of 211.  The readings are the highest so far this year. 

Last year, the highest three-hour PSI was 153 on Oct 6, and the highest 24-hour PSI was 107-125 on Oct 7.

Dr Balakrishnan's request for information from Indonesia comes on the heels of an Asean ministerial steering committee meeting on transboundary haze in July, which affirmed the need for greater sharing of information between countries to tackle the problem. Dr Balakrishnan said there had to be greater transparency and accountability, and suggested information exchange on a Government-to-Government basis to establish facts on the ground and to identify errant firms.

The Singapore government has offered haze assistance packages to Indonesia since 2005 during the traditional dry season from June to October. These include a C-130 aircraft for cloud seeding, up to two C-130s to ferry a fire-fighting assistance team from Singapore there and a Chinook helicopter with a water bucket for aerial fire-fighting.

NEA said hazy conditions are expected to persist for the rest of Thursday and on Friday, as prevailing winds are forecast to blow from the south-southeast or south towards Singapore.