SINGAPORE — Singapore has enough masks for use if the haze worsens, said Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu on Saturday (Oct 7) as the air quality fell into the unhealthy range in some parts of the country.
HAZE OUTLOOK AND MEASURES
The haze situation is uncertain because it depends on a few factors such as the number of hotspots and forest fires in the region, wind direction and whether it rains, said Ms Fu.
“It’s uncertain but we know that we are in an El Nino period, which means that it’s drier and hotter,” she added.
“We need to be vigilant and expect this condition to be intermittent and come and go, or if it’s more serious, it may be with us for a while.”
Following a haze task force meeting on Saturday, government agencies announced measures to mitigate the impact of haze.
That includes having air purifiers in healthcare institutions, preschools and schools.
Preschools will minimise prolonged outdoor activities when the air quality is in the unhealthy range. If schools need to be closed, national examinations will be rescheduled.
The Ministry of Manpower’s advice for workplaces is to reduce the duration of prolonged or strenuous work for healthy employees when the 24-hour PSI is in the unhealthy range.
The task force said the Singapore Armed Forces and Home Team have adjusted the level and intensity of training and outdoor activities based on air quality. Precautionary measures will be taken to ensure the health and safety of service personnel.
There will also be air-conditioned rooms on standby at all community centres and selected residents’ committee centres for members of the public who want to seek respite from the haze — should the air quality reach very unhealthy levels.
Ms Fu encouraged the public to monitor the advisories issued by the National Environment Agency (NEA), which will send them daily during the haze period.
The first such advisory of the year was published on Saturday after air quality fell to the unhealthy range — levels not seen since 2019.
Normal activities can continue for all groups if the PSI is in the moderate range.
In the unhealthy range, healthy people should reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor exertion. Elderly people, pregnant women and children should minimise such activities, while those with chronic lung or heart disease should avoid them.
The 24-hour PSI forecast is less volatile and can be used when planning the next day’s outdoor activities.
One-hour PM2.5 readings, on the other hand, are meant for making immediate decisions such as whether to go for a walk or a run outdoors.
The one-hour PM2.5 readings have also been elevated in parts of Singapore on Saturday. CNA
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