Singapore Pollution Hits `Very Unhealthy' Level as Forests Burn

  • Singapore's pollution index rises to 244 as of 8 p.m.
  • Government says haze, low visibility expected to persist

Singapore’s air quality worsened to the “very unhealthy” range as haze from Indonesian forest fires blanketed the city-state.

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The country’s three-hourly pollution index rose to 244 as of 8 p.m. local time on Friday, according to the National Environment Agency. Readings exceeding 200 are considered “very unhealthy,” with the government warning the public to avoid prolonged outdoor activities.

Smoke from fires in the neighboring Indonesian areas of Sumatra and Kalimantan has been blowing toward Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia. Exacerbated by dry conditions from El Nino, the haze has forced schools in the region to shut and outdoor events to be suspended on some days. 

“Widespread dense haze is observed over Kalimantan, and some of the haze continues to spread to the surrounding sea areas southeast of Singapore,” the agency said on its website. “For tomorrow, the prevailing winds are forecast to blow from the east or southeast. Hazy and reduced visibility conditions are expected to persist.”

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