Singapore Air Quality Improves as Officials Say Haze to Stay

  • Three-hour pollutant standards index drops to moderate range
  • Government advises reducing prolonged outdoor activity

Air quality improved in Singapore a day after high pollution levels prompted the city state to shut schools and suspend some outdoor events.

The three-hour pollutant standards index stood at 68 at 4 p.m., indicating “moderate” air quality. The measure had climbed to a year’s high of 334 on Friday morning. A reading exceeding 300 is classified as “hazardous.”

Smoke from Indonesian forest fires has shrouded Singapore with a layer of haze in the past few weeks. Primary and secondary schools were closed on Friday, a nationwide music test was postponed, and Sports Hub, the city-state’s new stadium, suspended all outdoor activities.

A 24-hour gauge of air quality is expected to be in the high end of the “moderate” range and the low end of the “unhealthy” range over the next 12 hours, the National Environment Agency said in a statement on its website at 9 a.m. The government advised healthy persons to reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical activity, and said people feeling unwell should seek medical attention.

Singapore on Friday named four Indonesian companies that it says may have contributed to the smoke, adding that it would apply more pressure on palm oil and forestry companies responsible for forest fires.

Investigations aided by meteorological data and satellite imagery showed fires on Indonesian land concessions controlled by PT Rimba Hutani Mas, PT Sebangun Bumi Andalas Wood Industries, PT Bumi Sriwijaya Sentosa and PT Wachyuni Mandira, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources said on its website. Representatives of the companies couldn’t be reached for comment by telephone on Saturday.

The ministry also said it has served Singapore-based Asia Pulp & Paper with a notice for information on measures taken by its subsidiaries and suppliers to put out fires on their Indonesian land concessions. Aniela Maria, listed as the media contact person on the company’s website, didn’t immediately reply to an e-mail seeking comment on Saturday.

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