Sumatra haze may not affect Singapore

Straits Times 14 Jul 11;

SINGAPORE may be spared from the acrid haze from Sumatra that has shrouded parts of Malaysia since early this month, even as the peninsula's Air Pollutant Index (API) hit 139 in the unhealthy range yesterday afternoon.

That is unless the wind direction changes over the weekend, said Singapore's National Environment Agency (NEA).

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, the NEA noted that 105 hot spots were detected over Sumatra yesterday, up from 70 last Thursday.

'Over the next few days, the winds over Singapore are expected to blow from the south to south-east and are not expected to transport the smoke haze from fires in Sumatra to Singapore,' it said in an e-mail reply yesterday.

However, a possible change in the wind direction to south-westerly over the weekend may blow a slight haze towards Singapore if the fires in central Sumatra persist, the NEA added.

The 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index reading in Singapore at 4pm yesterday was 22, which is in the good range.

A reading from 50 to 100 indicates moderate air quality, while anything above 100 is deemed unhealthy.

Parts of Malaysia have been shrouded in smoke haze for the past few days due to the fires in Sumatra.

Yesterday, the air quality in Ipoh, Perak was deemed unhealthy, after a steady climb of the API earlier in the day.