The Straits Times: NEA giving hourly updates on air quality

With the haze clouding the skies, you may keep updated on the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) at the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) dedicated webpage, or follow them on Twitter – @NEAsg.

NEA giving hourly updates on air quality

THE haze situation worsened slightly yesterday as the National Environment Agency (NEA) started providing hourly updates on the air quality here.

The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hit an average high of 62 yesterday, up from 55 the previous day. The level reached 69 in the evening.

Air quality is considered unhealthy when the index exceeds 100.

Hourly updates will be posted on the agency’s website at www.nea.gov.sg/psi and on its Twitter account @NEAsg.

An NEA spokesman said it was rolling out the service as the situation had worsened, but said it was likely to improve from the middle of the week when winds over Singapore are set to favour clearer skies.

The NEA also provided hourly updates last October during a similar haze period.

Experts said the higher PSI could be due to more intense fires in Indonesia or a change in wind direction.

Farmers and logging companies in Indonesia clear land using fire between June and September, the region’s dry season.

The number of fires in Indonesia hit 700 last Friday, but slipped to 200 the next day. Figures for the past two days were not available. The NEA said the drastic fall could be due to satellites being blocked by rain clouds over the weekend.

Singaporeans The Straits Times spoke to said they were not concerned about the small rise in the PSI yesterday.

Shop owner Sim Kim Leng, 65, celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival with 30 friends at an open space near his shop in Toa Payoh North.

He said: ‘It’s starting to rain in the afternoons now, so it should be safer to stay out in the evenings.’

Marketing consultant Agnes Tay, 40, who has an eight-year-old daughter, said younger children should stay indoors.

‘Right now the problem does not seem so bad, but I noticed several kids were absent from my daughter’s class today,’ she said.

Dr Wong Tien Hua, 42, said he had noticed a 20 per cent increase in patients at his Mutual Healthcare Medical Clinic in Sengkang, although not all were there with haze-related illnesses.

‘But I definitely treated more asthmatic patients yesterday than usual,’ he said.

Image taken from S Richards Photography

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