Rain in Sumatra gives Singapore a temporary respite from haze
(Source: The Jakarta Post, 9 July 2004 )
Rain in the Indonesian island of Sumatra has given Singapore a respite from the haze, but scientists warned on Thursday the forest fires are likely to return next month with the onslaught of a dry spell.
Satellite images of hotspots, areas on fire, have plunged to fewer than 10 a day over the past week compared to 300 on 20 June, National University of Singapore experts told The Straits Times.
Smoke from the land-clearing fires had shrouded parts of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. At their worst, people with asthma and other respiratory conditions here were urged to stay indoors.
The air quality has improved. The 24-hour Pollution Standards Index (PSI) reading was 30, compared with 52 on 23 June when the haze swept into the city-state. Readings above 100 are considered unhealthy.
Chia Aik Song, with the NUS’ Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing and Processing, noted the thick cloud cover makes it difficult to detect hotspots in satellite pictures.
“Different parts of the Sumatran peninsula are visible on different days, and we can piece together the complete picture,” he was quoted as saying.