Singapore Braces Itself For Yet Another Haze: What You Need to Know

As the Rest of the World Prepares for Autumn, Singapore Braces Itself For Another ‘Hazy’ Season

It's been the worst haze spell yet since 2016.

About this time each year, Singaporeans start to check their weather forecasts more regularly (admittedly unusual for a country which experiences summer 24/7). 

Not because temperatures are plummeting, but because our otherwise ‘green city’ becomes shrouded in an otherwise unfamiliar blanket of grey. 

As a result of wildfires raging in Indonesia, the haze has once again hit Singapore’s streets. Apparently, our air quality has been in the ‘unhealthy’ range for the first time since 2016.

Last Saturday (14 September) the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) exceeded the 100 mark about 4pm for the first time in three years and continued to rise throughout the evening. According to the National Environment Agency (NEA), PSI readings between 101 to 200 were considered “unhealthy”.

Incidentally, Singapore also now ranks 6th on a global index of major cities with the worst air quality. 

Also read: “Amazon is Burning; Closer to Home, So Are Indonesia’s Rainforests”

As of Thursday (September 19) morning, the PSI readings had increased to 154 towards Singapore’s southern tip. However, recent PSI measurements in the afternoon suggest the air quality might be improving. 

Image credit: Jan (via Flickr)

Will It Affect The F1 Weekend? 

Granted, it’s not the best of timings for another haze episode, given that our Lion City is gearing itself for its annual F1 event this weekend. 

The Formula One race weekend is still scheduled to go ahead, although authorities will be monitoring the situation, according to the Singapore Tourism Board on Monday, September 16.

 F1 organisers have also reported that they have a contingency plan should the air quality further worsen. 

“Assistance will be provided on-site for spectators who do not feel well and N95 masks will be made available at Singapore Grand Prix merchandise booths around the Circuit Park should the hazy conditions persist”, according to Ms. Jean Ng, executive director for sports at Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in an interview with CNA. 

Also read: “2019 F1 Grand Prix: Best Parties to Check Out to Rev Up Your Weekend”

Image credit: Nicolas Lannuzel

Across the Pond, Malaysians Have It Worse

The haze has also affected Malaysia, with the air quality in 10 areas falling within the “very unhealthy range” on Wednesday, 18 September. Firely has even cancelled all their flights between Singapore and Malaysia that day (Sep 18) due to poor visibility caused by the haze. 

In fact, nearly 2,500 schools in Malaysia were closed today (19 September). 

Adopt These Tips If You’re Outdoors During the Haze

Although the environment agency says the PSI readings are expected to improve, there is still a possibility that the “highly changeable” air quality could worsen if denser haze from Sumatra is blown in with the winds. 

In any case, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and adopt proactive measures to ensure you and your loved ones stay healthy despite the haze.

Avoid prolonged or strenous outdoor physical exertion particularly if you’re pregnant or suffering from a chronic lung disease; stay hydrated and avoid caffeinated drinks. And if the PSI increases further, consider wearing a mask if you’re outdoors. 

In an ideal world, it’s nice to think that with all the environmental repercussions of deforestation, authorities around the world would be incentivised to take action against the forest fires that continue to ravage our ecosystems around the world.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case – in the meantime, let’s all hope we can bid haze-ta la vista to this spell soon.

About Author

Sarah Khan
Sarah Khan

Loves travel, food and her (mildly obese) flat-faced exotic shorthair Khan Solo.