Singapore – AIR quality in Singapore hit the unhealthy range on Thursday afternoon, a day after the pollution index hit the highest level since 2006 on Wednesday.
The three-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) recording climbed to 107 as at 7pm, much higher than the 80 on Wednesday, which was the worst recording since 2006 when Singapore was last blanketed by a severe haze.
The air pollution was worse in the southern and western parts of Singapore than the north, east and central parts.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) warned on Wednesday that the smoke, due to foreign fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is expected to remain in the eye until at least Saturday.
Over in Malaysia, many areas continued to be shrouded in haze although the pollution level in Muar and Malacca were substantially lower on Thursday.
Still public concern is building up, prompting Kuala Lumpur to write to Jarkata to express its concern over the recurring situation.
Over 200 schools in Muar closed on Thursday due to the thick haze, affecting thousands of students. Ddistrict officials have reactivated a disaster relief committee and set up a haze monitoring operations room.
Malaysia also alerted vessels in the Malacca Strait of poor visibility as short as 2 nautical miles.
In the Indonesian province of Riau, feasibility was cut to between 3 to 4 km, form the normal range of over 10 km.
Purwasto Saroprayogi, head of the land and forest fires department at Indonesia’s Environment Ministry, told Reuters that the haze was caused by fires lit to clear land illegally in Dumai and Bengkalis districts in Riau province, in the north of Sumatra island.
The haze returned to the region less than a week after environment ministers in South-east Asia met in Brunei to address land and forest fires, which drew immediate flak from neighbours.