Slight haze, moderate air quality expected this weekend

Kok Xing Hui Today Online 29 Mar 14;

SINGAPORE — Slightly hazy conditions can be expected with the overall air quality today likely to remain in the moderate range, now that prevailing winds over Singapore have started to turn light and variable in direction.

Air quality is in the moderate band when the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) is between 51 and 100.

The current wind conditions are due to the onset of the inter-monsoon season in the region and the National Environment Agency (NEA) said it will continue to monitor those conditions and update when necessary. Thundery showers can also be expected in the afternoon at the weekend.

In an update of the haze situation last evening, the NEA said the number of hot spots detected in Sumatra fell from the 203 recorded on Thursday to 145 yesterday.

It added that smoke plumes and haze were visible in Riau province and 51 hot spots were detected in Peninsular Malaysia yesterday.

Yesterday’s 24-hour PSI climbed from 31–46 at 3am to 31–55 at 10am and stayed that way till 6pm. Given the air quality forecast today, the NEA said the public can continue with normal activities.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s new air quality reporting system will come into effect on Tuesday, one month ahead of schedule.

The system will better reflect visibility levels during hazy periods as it will incorporate levels of fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, into the PSI.

The new reporting system was announced by Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in Parliament earlier this month.