Singapore’s air quality deteriorated to “hazardous” levels late on Wed as smoke from slash-and-burn land clearing in country swallowed the city-state, inflaming tensions between the Southeast Asian neighbors.
Singapore, a significant financial center, will send a delegation to national capital on Thursday to discuss the air pollution that has turned its typically clear skies grey, surroundings Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told a group discussion.
The outlines of skyscrapers were barely visible within the central core of the bustling city-state and the smell of burnt wood penetrate the air.
“Things will worsen before convalescing,” the nowadays newspaper quoted Balakrishnan as voice communication on its Twitter feed.
The Pollution Standards Index (PSI) soared to a record high of 321 at 10 p.m., up from 290 just Associate in Nursing hour earlier and below two hundred earlier within the day. The haze has conjointly shrouded some elements of Asian nation.
A PSI reading on top of 300 indicates “hazardous” air quality, while a reading between 201 and 300 means “very unhealthy”.
The 321 level smashed the previous record of 226 reached in Singapore in 1997 once smoke from Indonesian fires disrupted shipping and traveling across geographical area.
Operations at Singapore’s Changi field, Associate in Nursing Asian aviation hub, have not been affected to date however work at some construction sites gave the impression to have stopped or slowed.
Drug stores and supermarkets ran out of face masks and other people queued in long lines to shop for multiple boxes of them once contemporary provides came in.
Raffles pier asset Management, which manages the marina Bay financial Center advanced that houses many of the banks in operation in Singapore, aforementioned it’s issued face masks to staff.
“They area unit stationed outdoors for long hours and directly exposed to the haze,” it said.
The criminal burning of forests to clear land for palm plantations is a recurring downside in country, notably throughout the annual dry season from June to September.
Indonesian officials have instructed companies based in Singapore could also be part accountable for the blazes. Singapore has aforementioned it wants country to supply maps of land concessions therefore it can act against firms that permit slash-and-burn farming.
“What we know is that there area unit many foreign investors from Singapore concerned. however we won’t just blame them for this since we still ought to investigate this any,” aforementioned Hadi Daryanto, a senior official at Indonesia’s biology Ministry.
Singapore-based oil companies with land concessions in country include Wilmar International Ltd, Golden Agri-Resources Ltd and initial Resources Ltd.
Wilmar, Golden-Agri and initial Resources aforementioned on Wed that they had a “zero burning” policies and used only mechanical means to clear land. Cargill, whose Asia-Pacific regional hub is in Singapore, aforementioned there were no hotspots nor hearth on its plantations in South island and West Kalimantan.