Smoke from Indonesian fires worsens air quality in Singapore

Smoke from Indonesian fires worsens airquality in Singapore

25 February 2008

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South East Asia — Smoke from fires raging inIndonesia’s Riau province degraded air quality in Singapore, where environmentalofficials warned Monday of several days of haze.

The annual scourge from land-clearing fires usually doesn’t spew smoke overSingapore and other countries in the region until July.

The city-state’s Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hit 53, exceeding the goodrange of 0 to 50. Readings of 51 to 100 are considered moderate, and above 100on the index represents unhealthy conditions.

Officials in Indonesia “know that we are concerned about this, and Ihope they do something about it,” The Straits Times quoted Minister for theEnvironment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim as saying.

Singapore has sent satellite images to Indonesia pinpointing the hotspots.

Firefighters in the province are injecting water into peatland to help douseembers smouldering several metres underground.

Choking smoke from the flames has blanketed parts of neighbouring NorthSumatra and Jambi province and also covered the coast of Serdang Bedagi, forcingfishermen to stay indoors, the report said.

The city-state pledged 1 million Singapore dollars (709,000 US dollars) inNovember to help prevent the Indonesian fires.

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