'Haze smell' reported in parts of Singapore

Channel NewsAsia 26 Aug 16;

SINGAPORE: A burning smell was detected in parts of Singapore on Friday morning (Aug 26). Several people took to social media and called in to Channel NewsAsia to say that they could smell the haze from different parts of the country.

According to the National Environment Agency (NEA), the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reading at 9am was 46-58 in the Good to Moderate range.

This was a jump from the 40-54 reading at 8am, which was also in the Good to Moderate range.

The corresponding 3-hour PSI at 9am was 90, up from 68 at 8am.

The 1-hr PM2.5 has been increasing during the morning. In the northern sector it rose from 20ug/m3 at 7am to 100ug/m3 at 9am.

Channel NewsAsia has reached out to NEA for comment.

Back in March this year, when a burning smell was detected in some parts of Singapore, the NEA said it could have been caused by some local vegetation fires.

It added that fires and some wind convergence over Singapore could have also contributed to the deterioration in the air quality in some parts of the island.

- CNA/mn

Reports of burning smell in air as PSI readings creep up
Today Online 26 Aug 16;

SINGAPORE — Many Singaporeans fear the haze may be back after waking up to the smell of smoke in the air on Friday morning (Aug 26).

Although the three-hourly Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) readings were below 100, or the unhealthy level, #sghaze was the trending topic on Twitter. One user, Amita Natverlal, wrote: “you know the haze is back when you wake up and a burnt smell hits your nose.”

The overall 24-hour PSI reading went up from 40 to 54 at 8am, to 46 to 58 at 9am. But the hourly PM2.5 reading for finer particles went from 54 at 8am to 100 at 9am in the North.


Haze to linger for rest of Friday
Today Online 26 Aug 16;

SINGAPORE — Hazy conditions are expected to persist in Singapore for the rest of Friday (Aug 26), likely blown in by westerly winds over Singapore, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) in a press advisory issued around noon.

The NEA has forecast that the overall 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reading over the next 12 hours is likely to remain in the high end of the “moderate” range.

The hourly PM2.5 reading for finer pollutants is also expected to remain in the “elevated” and “high” ranges over the next six to 12 hours.

NEA’s health advisory said that “everyone can continue with normal activities”. However, the elderly and children, or those who are feeling unwell or suffering from chronic conditions, should seek medical attention.

Singapore woke up to the smell of smoke burning in the air on Friday morning, and it quickly became one of the top trending topic on Twitter and Google searches.

NEA added in its advisory that three hotspots were detected in central Sumatra on Thursday, with the low hotspot count due to cloudy conditions. Localised smoke plumes were visible from the hotspots. The latest satellite image on Friday morning showed some hotspots still observed in central Sumatra.

Besides the haze persisting, NEA also forecast cloudy conditions over most of Singapore.

The hourly PM2.5 reading was highest in the west at noon, with a reading of 216. The reading for the rest of the regions ranged between 137 and 176.

With drier weather expected for the rest of the region, NEA will commence issuance of daily haze advisories from Friday (Aug 26).

The NEA said it will give an updated forecast in the afternoon.

One-hour PM2.5 concentrations of 55 micrograms per cubic metre and below are “normal”; readings of 56 to 150 are “elevated”; readings of 151 to 250 are “high”; and anything above 250 is “very high”.

But the one-hour readings are not tied to health advisories, which apply only to 24-hour PSI readings because studies on sub-daily PM2.5 exposure still do not provide a sufficient evidence base, the NEA said in June.

The 24-hour PSI forecast will also continue to be used for major decisions such as the closure of schools.


#SGHaze trends on social media as air pollution readings hit 'high'
Today Online 26 Aug 16;

SINGAPORE — Many Singaporeans fear the haze may be back after waking up to the smell of smoke in the air on Friday morning (Aug 26).

The overall 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) readings had been slowly creeping up to 58 to 80 at 12pm, from 34 to 51 at 6am. Meanwhile, the 3-hr PSI reading climbed from 31 at 6am to 165 at 12pm.

The hourly PM2.5 readings for finer pollutants, which the National Environment Agency (NEA) introduced bandings for in June this year, hit 216 in the West of Singapore at 12pm, in the "high" range. At the same time, the North, Central and South of Singapore also entered the "high" band at 172, 159, and 176 respectively.

In an advisory issued at 11.51am, the NEA said that the 1-hr PM2.5 concentration for the rest of the day is expected to remain in the Band III (High) and Band II (Elevated) range. Overall, the PSI for the next 12 hours is also forecast to be in the high end of the Moderate range.

"Given the air quality forecast for the next 12 hours, everyone can continue with normal activities. Persons who are not feeling well, especially the elderly and children, and those with chronic heart or lung conditions, should seek medical attention", said the NEA.

Although the PSI readings have yet to hit alert levels, which is when the 24-hour PSI is above 100, or goes into the unhealthy range, Singaporeans are already searching for information online.

Haze was among the top trending topics on Twitter and Google, with over 5,000 searches on Google Singapore on "PSI Singapore". Related searches include 'PSI level in Singapore today', and 'PSI in Singapore now'.

Under #sghaze, Twitter users were quickly sharing photos of the views from their respective locations, and comments on the return of the annual plague.

One Twitter user, Ms Lynette, wrote: “Overheard on the radio: Singapore has 4 seasons – durian season, dengue season, monsoon season and apparently, it’s now haze season.”

One-hour PM2.5 concentrations of 55 micrograms per cubic metre and below are “normal”; readings of 56 to 150 are “elevated”; readings of 151 to 250 are “high”; and anything above 250 is “very high”.

But the one-hour readings are not tied to health advisories, which apply only to 24-hour PSI readings because studies on sub-daily PM2.5 exposure still do not provide a sufficient evidence base, the NEA said in June.

The 24-hour PSI forecast will also continue to be used for major decisions such as the closure of schools.

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