Singapore has been hit by the haze, triggering a coordinated response from various government agencies to safeguard public health and well-being.
The 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) entered the Unhealthy range earlier today, prompting action from the Government’s interagency Haze Task Force (HTF), led by the National Environment Agency (NEA).
The health impact of haze varies depending on factors such as PSI levels, outdoor activity duration, and individual health status. To minimize exposure, the public is advised to reduce outdoor activities and physical exertion. Staying hydrated is crucial, and individuals with chronic heart and lung conditions should ensure they have access to necessary medications.
Air Quality Readings (as of 5pm, 07 October 2023)
For deciding on immediate outdoor activities
1-hr PM2.5: 30-94 µg/m3 (Band I – Band II, Normal to Elevated)
Please check the latest 1-hr PM2.5 concentration readings and personal guide when deciding on carrying out activities in the next few hours.
24-hr PSI: 66-120 (High-end of the Moderate range to Low-end of the Unhealthy range)
National Environment Agency (NEA) said that vulnerable groups, including the elderly, pregnant women, children, and those with chronic conditions, should seek prompt medical attention if they experience symptoms.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has collaborated with healthcare institutions to implement haze preparedness measures. These include using air purifiers and fans and deploying portable air coolers where needed. Institutions are closely monitoring patients for any haze-related health effects and providing medical intervention as necessary.
In its health advisory, NEA has recommended N95 masks for individuals exposed to prolonged outdoor conditions when the air quality falls into the Hazardous range (PSI >300).
Vulnerable individuals should avoid outdoor activity when air quality is Very Unhealthy (PSI >200) and consider using N95 masks if necessary. Specific guidance is available for the elderly, pregnant women, and those with severe lung or heart issues.
Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, Grace Fu, reassured the public on Saturday (Oct 7) that Singapore is well-prepared with an ample supply of masks should the haze situation worsen. As air quality deteriorated into the unhealthy range in certain areas of the country, Ms. Fu stated that there would be heightened haze advisories in place, tailored to the evolving conditions.
However, they are recommended for individuals who anticipate spending several hours outdoors when the forecasted air quality is in the hazardous range (PSI > 300). Vulnerable individuals are advised to wear N95 masks when the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) exceeds 200, as they are more susceptible to the adverse effects of poor air quality. Stay updated with the latest information and guidelines provided by Singaporean authorities during haze episodes.
These advisories will help determine whether it is necessary for the public to wear masks, ensuring the well-being and safety of the citizens amidst changing environmental conditions.
- Preschools are advised to monitor air quality levels and follow corresponding health advisories. Outdoor activities for children are limited during Unhealthy air quality periods. Air purifiers are available in all preschools, and provisions are in place for children with health concerns.
- The Ministry of Education (MOE) has developed a school continuity plan to protect students and staff during hazy conditions. All classrooms have been equipped with air purifiers, and teachers are vigilant about students with health conditions. National examinations will proceed as scheduled but will be held in enclosed spaces with air purifiers if the air quality is Unhealthy or worse.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that it encourages employers to follow haze guidelines and advisories. Employers should reduce strenuous work, especially for vulnerable employees, provide suitable protective equipment, and ensure hydration and indoor rest breaks.
- The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and Home Team Departments continue to safeguard Singapore’s security amid the haze. Training and outdoor activities have been adjusted according to PSI levels to protect service personnel.
- Motorists are urged to drive cautiously and use headlights when visibility is low due to haze. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has implemented measures to protect employees and alert drivers via electronic signboards.
- Sport Singapore advises sports participants and organizers to monitor air quality and follow health advisories. Event organizers should consider health advisories when deciding whether to proceed with sports activities.
- Community activities organized by the People’s Association will follow the NEA’s 24-hour PSI forecast and health advisory. Air-conditioned rooms in Community Centres and Residents’ Committee Centres are available for those seeking respite from the haze.
The Haze Task Force will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide further advisories if needed, as Singaporeans come together to combat the haze and prioritize public health and well-being, NEA said in its release.
For more information and specific guidance, please visit the respective government agency websites and resources provided.
According to https://www.haze.gov.sg/
- Current Haze Conditions : Singapore has experienced slight haze conditions, with 1-hour PM2.5 concentration readings ranging from 30 to 94 µg/m3, falling within Band I to Band II (Normal to Elevated). The 24-hour PSI (Pollutant Standards Index) was in the range of 66 to 120, placing it in the high-end of the Moderate range to the low-end of the Unhealthy range.
- Dry conditions persist across the surrounding region, leading to the detection of 188 hotspots, mainly in the southern and central parts of Sumatra. Prevailing winds have caused moderate to dense smoke haze to move north and northwest.
- Singapore and the surrounding region are expected to experience lighter winds in the coming days, which means the current hazy conditions are likely to persist. However, there is hope for improvement on Monday, with the possibility of showers and a favorable change in wind direction.
- During the haze season, PM2.5 concentration readings are a crucial indicator of air quality. Health advisories are primarily based on the 24-hour PSI. For immediate outdoor activities, individuals are advised to check the latest 1-hour PM2.5 concentration readings and personal guidelines. Those planning outdoor activities for the next day should rely on the 24-hour PSI forecast and corresponding health advisories.
- The health effects of haze depend on factors like one’s health status, PSI level, and the duration and intensity of outdoor activities. In response to the current air quality forecast, healthy individuals should reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor activities. The elderly, pregnant women, children, and people with chronic lung or heart conditions are advised to minimize such activities, while those not feeling well should seek medical attention.
Additionally, for updates and further information, individuals can visit the haze microsite, NEA website, MSS website, or use the mobile app “myEnv.” They can also follow NEA on Facebook and Twitter. Information on hotspots in the region can be found on the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) website.
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