Haze covers Singapore downtown area, 18 September 2019. (Image by Hit1912 / Shutterstock.com)

Singapore has the seventh-worst air quality of all major cities as hazy conditions persist

The air quality in Singapore according to the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) will remain at unhealthy levels over the next day, says the National Environment Agency (NEA).

The PSI shows the air in Singapore to be at unhealthy levels between 117-136 across the island, with the South bearing the worst of it. This is up from the previous day’s range of 107-122.

In an update on 18 September, the NEA said that the PSI forecast for the next 24 hours would range between the high end of moderate and the low end of unhealthy. Depending on wind conditions, it may enter the mid-section of unhealthy as denser haze from Sumatra is blown in.

Source: NEA

There is, however, a slight reprieve. As of 10 am this morning, the 1-hr PM2.5 reading was recorded as Band I or Normal which is a decreased from the day before when it was in Band II, Elevated.

Source: NEA

Yesterday, Singapore had the fourth-worst air quality of all major cities in the world, but today it dropped to seventh, below Kuala Lumpur, according to the AirVisual live air quality ranking. The city with the worst air right now is Kuching, followed by Dhaka, Dubai, Jakarta, and Kabul.

Air quality and pollution city ranking as of 19 September 2019, 10:45 am, AirVisual

Looking at country-wide readings on the World Air Quality Index, Singapore is far down on the list today when it was 8th yesterday. As of 10 am on 19th September, Indonesia persists as having the second most polluted air in the world while Malaysia is fourth.

Worldwide Air Quality Rankings as of 19 September, 11 am.

According to NEA’s update yesterday, a total of 238 hotspots were detected in Sumatra and some smoke haze has been blown by the prevailing winds to affect Singapore and parts of Peninsular Malaysia.

While the air quality in Singapore right now according to the 1-hr PM2.5 appears to be normal, prevailing winds are forecast to blow from the southeast or south, meaning Singapore may continue to experience hazy conditions as the weather remains dry in Sumatra.

The NEA cautioned that healthy persons should reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion as the 24hr PSI remains at unhealthy levels. The elderly, pregnant women and children are advised to minimise prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion, while those with chronic lung or heart disease should avoid it altogether.

Anyone who isn’t feeling well, especially the elderly, children, and those with chronic heart or lung conditions, should seek medical attention.

While conditions appear to be marginally improving in Singapore, Malaysia is still having a tough time of it. As of 10 am on 19 Sept, the Malaysian Air Pollutant Index (API) shows the air in Sarawak holding at unhealthy level with the air in Kuching worsening since yesterday and skirting dangerously close to being hazardous.

Air Pollutant Index of Malaysia

Balik Pulau in Penang showed Air Pollutant Index (API) readings of 204 while other cities in the west coast of Peninsula Malaysia persists at unhealthy levels, between 101-200 on the API.