Haze in Singapore Reached Record Levels

How Does Haze Hurt

The haze in Singapore reached a record high with the three-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reading soaring to 321 at 10.00 pm on 19 June 2013, Wednesday. This far exceeds the previous worst reading of 226 in September 1997 and is past the “hazardous” level of 300.

The Education Ministry would have to decide whether to close schools and the Manpower Ministry may issue stop-work order if the haze condition worsens, said Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan at a news briefing on Wednesday night after the PSI soared to unprecedented levels.

The 3-hour PSI reading has since fallen back to the “very unhealthy” levels of 282 at 11.00 pm and 218 at midnight, and then to the “unhealthy” levels of 195 at 1.00 am and 137 at 6.00 am on 20 June 2013, Thursday.

How to Monitor the Haze Situation in Singapore

Click here for the updated 3-hour and 24-hour PSI readings on the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) website.

The PSI readings and health advisories for the five regions in Singapore (North, South, East, West and Central), which are updated at 8.00 am, 12 noon and 4.00 pm are available at NEA’s PSI page. You can also access PSI updates through the following channels:

Air Quality Based on PSI Readings

PSI Value Air Quality Descriptor (Health Advisory)
0 – 50 Good
51 – 100 Moderate
101 – 200 Unhealthy

(Persons with existing heart or respiratory ailments should reduce physical and outdoor activity. The general population should reduce vigorous outdoor activity.)

201 – 300 Very unhealthy

(Elderly and persons with existing heart or lung disease should stay indoors and reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity. The general population should reduce vigorous outdoor activity.)

301 – 400 Hazardous

(Children, elderly and persons with existing diseases should stay indoors and avoid outdoor activity. The general population should avoid unnecessary outdoor activity.)

> 400 Hazardous

(Children, elderly and persons with existing diseases should stay indoors, keeping the windows and doors closed and avoiding physical exertion as far as possible. Outdoor activity should be avoided. The general population should keep physical exertion and outdoor activity to as low a level as possible).

Health Advice from Singapore General Hospital


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The Singapore General Hospital has shared how the haze hurts our bodies and useful tips on what you can do to protect your children and babies, as they have weaker immune systems and are more vulnerable during this haze period.

How Does Haze Hurt

Protect my Kids

Haze Advisories

Based on the 24-hour PSI readings, the Ministry of Health (MOH) advises that Singaporeans limit prolonged or heavy outdoor activities. In particular, children, the elderly and those with heart or lung diseases, should avoid outdoor activities and seek treatment early if they feel unwell.

Below is a summary of the general advisories issued by the various agencies for the different groups as compiled by NEA:

Community Advisory
24-hour PSI Level 101-200 24-hour PSI Level 201-300
General Public
  • Limit prolonged or heavy outdoor activities.
  • Children, the elderly and those with heart or lung diseases, should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor activities, and seek medical treatment early if they feel unwell.
  • Outdoor activities/ courses under People’s Association will be reduced or postponed at PSI > 150. All activities/ courses should be conducted indoors. Participants with heart ailments and respiratory problems should take precaution according to NEA and MOH’s advisories.
  • Limit prolonged or heavy outdoor activities.
  • Children, the elderly and those with heart or lung diseases, should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor activities, and seek medical treatment early if they feel unwell.
  • All indoor and outdoor activities/courses should be reduced, postponed or cancelled.

 

 

School Children
(Primary, Secondary, Pre-University)
  • Outdoor physical activities, physical education lessons, sports and games to be cancelled.
  • Schools to standby one air-conditioned room (e.g. the library/AVA room) equipped with portable air cleaner to accommodate pupils with breathing-related problems before they are taken to seek medical attention if required
  • All physical activities, both indoor and outdoor, to be suspended.
  • Schools to standby one air-conditioned room (e.g. the library/AVA room) equipped with portable air cleaner to accommodate pupils with breathing-related problems before they are taken to seek medical attention if required.
Children in Child Care Centres and Kindergartens
  • Cancel all outdoor activities for the children.
  • Monitor the health situations of the children closely.  Should any child fall sick, inform the parents and seek medical attention immediately.
  • Cancel all outdoor activities for the children.
  • Keep children strictly indoors, close all doors and windows.
  • Monitor the health situation of the children closely.  Should any child fall sick, inform the parents and seek medical attention immediately.
Employees
  • Employers should minimise outdoor work which involves strenuous physical activity.
  • Employers should provide suitable respirators to susceptible employees working outdoors.
  • If susceptible employees have difficulty working outdoors, employers should deploy them to work indoors.
  • Employers should ensure that outdoor work involving strenuous physical activity be avoided
  • Employers should provide suitable respirators to all employees carrying out outdoor work.
  • Employers should deploy susceptible employees to work indoors, preferably doing work which is not physically strenuous.
Sports Community
  • All sports facilities will remain open.
  • All outdoor sports activities organised by SSC will be cancelled / postponed.
  • If PSI<150, all sports activities organised by SSC (competitive and non-competitive) in non air-conditioned environment, will continue as planned.
  • If PSI>150, all sports activities organised by SSC in non air-conditioned environment will be cancelled / postponed.
  • Sports activities in air-conditioned environment will continue.
  • Display notices to advise elderly and persons with medical conditions or respiratory ailments e.g. heart or lung disease to refrain from outdoor sporting activity.
  • Sports activities in air-conditioned environment may continue.
  • Display notices to advise elderly and persons with medical condition or respiratory ailments eg heart or lung disease to refrain from sporting activity.
  • Increase cleaning frequency of air devices e.g. air-conditioners, exhaust fans etc at sports facilities and offices.

 

Source: NEA News Release 19 June 2013 (Annex B)

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