Singapore — Singapore’s city-state Pollutant Standards Index shot up on Monday as wild forest fires made the smog and haze sitting on the skyscrapers and landscape the worst it has been in the past seven years.
At around 9 p.m. local time, the Index topped out at 152-much higher than the level deemed “unhealthy” at 100.
The last time Singapore’s haze reached these unlivable conditions was in 2006, when the PSI hit 150, according to the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.
Singapore suggested strongly that Indonesia observe all “urgent measures” necessary to attack the immense fire problem, while dense air pollution from Sumatra Island pounded down upon Indonesian citizens, Yahoo News reported.
Malaysia also fell prey to the choking smog that spread from the neighboring country-an issue that has plagued some areas of Southeast Asia for years, with little governmental effort for remedies.
The National Environment Agency told Indonesian weather officials “urge Indonesian authorities to look into urgent measures to mitigate the transboundary haze occurrence.”
The Indonesian forestry ministry responded by saying that firefighters were on the scene, dealing with the fires as best they could without water-dropping aircraft-a measure that could only be taken if local government put in a request for it, which they hadn’t yet done.
Hadi Daryanto, who currently heads up the forestry ministry as a head official, said that Malaysia and Singapore were also responsible, not only for trying to tackle the forest fires, but also for the enormous blaze in the first place. Daryanto claimed that the two countries’ palm oil companies in Indonesia didn’t observe certain safety measures, and that might have contributed to the fires.
“We hope the governments of Malaysia and Singapore will tell their investors to adopt proper measures so we can solve this problem together,” he said.
These summer fires brought on by dry weather and even more dry brush being cleared for cultivation are prevalent in the Indonesian archipelago.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak wrote on his Facebook that the haze would worsen in the next few days, as winds moving smoke from Sumatra most likely would carry on.
“Please reduce outdoor activity and drink a lot of water during this period,” Razak said. “Health should remain a number one priority for everyone.”