After a weekend of shunning outdoor activities, Singaporeans can now breathe easy for a bit.
The haze situation has gradually improved in Singapore as prevailing winds have shifted to blow from the southeast, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Sunday evening (Sept 15).
However, NEA added that dry weather is forecasted to persist in Singapore and Sumatra, which means Singapore may still experience slightly hazy conditions as prevailing winds are expected to blow from the southeast or south.
After reaching a high of 116 on Saturday (Sept 14), the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) readings for various parts of the island ranged between 77 and 86 as of 11am on Monday (Sept 16).
24-hr PSI readings of 50 and below signify “good” air quality, while readings between 51 to 100 are classified “moderate”, and those between 101 to 200 are “unhealthy”.
The 24-hr PSI is forecast to gradually improve to the high end of the moderate range, if prevailing winds continue.
The 1-hour PM2.5 readings ranged from 17 to 27 – considered “Band I (Normal)” – on Monday morning. Readings between 56 to 150 are considered “Band II (Elevated)”, while readings of 151 to 250 are classified as “Band III (High)”, and those above 250 are “Band IV (Very High)”.
PM2.5 readings are expected to be between Band I (Normal) and the low end of Band II (Elevated) for the next 24 hours, NEA said.
Neighbouring Malaysia is not so lucky though, and many Malaysians woke up on Malaysia Day to huge swathes of haze, with five areas recording “very unhealthy” readings and 29 recording “unhealthy” readings. Kuching was also declared the “world’s most air-polluted city” by IQAir AirVisual on Monday morning.
According to NEA, a total of 439 hotspots were detected in Sumatra on Sunday, mostly in the central and southern provinces of Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra and Lampung. These hotspots caused moderate to dense levels of smoke haze which were blown by prevailing winds to affect parts of Singapore and Malaysia.
N95 masks will be “progressively available” starting September 15
Additionally, even though N95 masks were reported to be sold out at some retail stores in Singapore, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has said that more masks will be progressively available starting from Sunday (Sept 15).
According to the NEA, N95 masks are designed to reduce the wearer’s respiratory exposure to airborne contaminants such as particles, gases or vapours and have a 95 per cent filter efficiency.