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Air quality levels may hit unhealthy range this weekend

SINGAPORE — Air quality levels here may briefly hit the unhealthy range this weekend if wind conditions bring more haze from hot spots in Johor, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said yesterday.

Air quality levels may hit unhealthy range this weekend

Satellite images showing haze blowing in from hotspots in Malaysia, March 14, 2014. Photo: NEA

SINGAPORE — Air quality levels here may briefly hit the unhealthy range this weekend if wind conditions bring more haze from hot spots in Johor, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said yesterday.

In its haze advisory issued yesterday, the NEA said the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) is expected to fluctuate at the high end of the moderate band. The 24-hour PM2.5 levels — which measure the concentration of particles smaller than 2.5 microns — could reach unhealthy levels at times, the agency added.

Writing on his Facebook page, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan noted that haze conditions have worsened.

“As a precaution, persons with chronic lung or heart conditions are advised to avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion. If the haze deteriorates, the general population may need to reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion,” he said.

The NEA said warm weather with hazy conditions is expected, although brief and localised showers could arrive in the late afternoon over the northern and western parts of the island.

PSI readings have been in the moderate range since Tuesday evening. As of 6pm yesterday, the 24-hour PSI level was between 52 and 67, while the 24-hour PM2.5 was between 37 and 54. The three-hour PSI climbed to 82 at 7pm yesterday before falling to 67 at 9pm. Air quality is in the moderate band when the PSI is between 51 and 100.

The NEA said the haze was a result of hot spots in southern Johor. On Thursday, 35 and 59 hot spots were detected in Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia respectively.

“Smoke plumes and haze were visible from some of these hot spots,” said the NEA.

Separately, the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources yesterday announced the list of six international law experts who would sit as members on the International Advisory Panel on Transboundary Pollution. The panel was set up to advise the Government on trends and developments in international law and steps Singapore can take in relation to transboundary pollution.

The panel members include Dr Abdul G Koroma, a former judge at the International Court of Justice, and Professor Edith Brown Weiss, a legal scholar who has taught and published widely on issues of international law, especially international environmental law.

The panel will be co-chaired by former Deputy Prime Minister Professor S Jayakumar and Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh.

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