See More on Facebook

Environment

Air quality at unhealthy levels as Singapore hosts F1 Grand Prix

Thundery showers forecast on Monday.


Written by

Updated: September 23, 2019

The showers expected on Monday (Sept 23) and the coming week could bring some relief from the haze, which brought air quality to unhealthy levels on Sunday.

The National Environment Agency said in its daily advisory that with winds forecast to blow from the east-northeast or east-southeast on Monday, “the shift in winds is expected to bring some showers over the region”.

“For the next few days, an increase in rain showers can be expected over the region, including Sumatra and Kalimantan,” said the NEA. “The showers may help to improve the hot spot and haze situation in Sumatra and Kalimantan.”

On Sunday, 246 hot spots were detected in Sumatra in Indonesia, and 474 hot spots in Kalimantan, which also affected parts of Peninsular Malaysia.

The NEA said the “slight deterioration” in the air quality on Sunday was due to smoke haze being blown in from Kalimantan by the prevailing winds.

On Monday, the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) is forecast to be between the high end of the moderate range and the low end of the unhealthy range.

The NEA advised healthy people to reduce prolonged strenuous exertion outdoors on Monday, and elderly people, pregnant women and children to minimise it, while people with chronic heart or lung disease should avoid it altogether.

At 11pm on Sunday, the 24-hour PSI for all regions was over 100, with the south recording the highest figure at 126, and the west the lowest at 113.

A PSI reading of zero to 50 indicates good air quality while a reading of 51 to 100 is in the moderate range. A reading of 101 to 200 is considered unhealthy. Air quality is considered “very unhealthy” when the PSI ranges from 201 to 300, and “hazardous” when the PSI reading is more than 300.

In addition to the 24-hour PSI, the one-hour PM2.5 concentration is a good indicator of current air quality. Measuring the average hourly concentration of PM2.5 particles, the dominant pollutant during haze episodes, it can help people gauge their level of immediate activity, such as whether they should go for a jog.

There are four bands on the PM2.5 concentration scale: 0 to 55 for normal, 56 to 150 for elevated, 151 to 250 for high, and very high for any higher readings.

In the south region, where the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix race was held, the one-hour PM2.5 concentration reading was in the “elevated” range of 78 at 8pm, though it did not deter the thousands who flocked to watch the race.

Stay-at-home mother Michelle d’Cruz, 48, said she and her two children, aged 10 and 13, were more concerned about the haze than her husband, a 47-year-old engineer.

She said: “The kids and I stayed in because the haze is a put-off and we didn’t want to risk getting sick with exams around the corner. My husband, on the other hand, went to the F1, regardless.”



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Environment

Japan: Koizumi offers no concrete plan on coal

The new environment minister needs to offer better ways to tackle climate change.  During a ministerial meeting of the U.N. climate summit in Madrid on Wednesday, Shinjiro Koizumi, the Environment Minister did not express concrete steps for reducing coal-fired thermal power generation. Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi did not express concrete steps for reducing coal-fired thermal power generation, for which construction of new plants is currently underway in Japan, during a ministerial meeting of the U.N. climate summit in Madrid on Wednesday. “I am afraid I cannot share new development on our coal policy today,” Koizumi said at the ongoing 25th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate


By The Japan News
December 13, 2019

Environment

Myanmar running out of time to cope with climate change, warns historian Thant Myint-U

Myanmar is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects of climate change and is grossly unprepared to deal with the consequences. WASHINGTON – Myanmar is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects of climate change, and is grossly unprepared to deal with the consequences, warns historian Dr Thant Myint-U. The Myanmar historian, author and conservationist was in the United States recently to speak on his most recent book examining race, capitalism and the crisis of democracy in Myanmar titled “The Hidden History of Burma”. In an interview for the online video and podcast Asian Insider, Dr Thant told The Straits Times the threat of climate change tipped his ledger towards pessimism about the country’s future. “I think whatever we think of the ledger in general, perhaps it comes to 50/50,” he said. “When you add on


By The Straits Times
December 9, 2019

Environment

Climate Change: Bangladesh 7th worst-hit nation

The country is at risk from cyclones and flooding. Bangladesh is seventh among the 10 countries worst hit by extreme weather events, says a global climate report. Puerto Rico, Myanmar and Haiti top the list which has three South Asian countries and seven Asian nations, according to the Global Climate Risk Index (CRI) 2020 that analysed data from 1999 and 2018. Germanwatch, a Berlin based non-profit environmental research organisation, released the report yesterday on the sidelines of The Conference of the Parties (COP-25) meet in Madrid, Spain. In the previous report that examined data between 1998 and 2017, Bangladesh was at the ninth position. The study looked at four indicators — death toll, number of events, loss of property of each person and loss of gross domestic product. The CRI 2020 is based on the loss figures of 181 countries, it said. The report also said Japan, th


By Daily Star
December 5, 2019

Environment

Typhoon Tisoy touches down in the Philippines

The typhoon may affect the Southeast Asian games which is currently underway. Typhoon Tisoy slightly weakened early Tuesday morning as it bears down on Burias Island but it remains strong and destructive, the weather bureau reported. In its 5 a.m. Severe Weather Bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said that Tisoy’s eyewall is currently bringing violent winds and intense rainfall over Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, and Masbate. Its eyewall is also expected to affect Southern Quezon, Romblon, and Marinduque in the next three hours. Frequent to continuous heavy to intense (with isolated torrential) rains will be experienced in the Bicol Region, Romblon, Marinduque, Mindoro Provinces, Calabarzon, Metro Manila, Bataan, Pampanga and Bulacan between Tuesday early morning and late afternoon, Pagasa said. Occasional to frequent heavy


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 3, 2019

Environment

Cyclone Bulbul claims 7 lives in Bangladesh

The cyclone made landfall on Sunday. At least seven people were killed in different coastal districts as cyclone ‘Bulbul’ lashed Khulna and adjoining southwestern part of the country today before weakening into a deep depression. In Khulna, three people died as trees fell on them when the cyclone hit the areas today, our Khulna correspondent reports. The deceased were identified as Promila Mandal, 52, of Dacope upazila, Alamgir Hossain, 35, of Digholia upazila, and Rahman Sheikh, 78, of Rupsha Upazila. In Patuakhali, a man was killed under a tree as it fell on him at Mirzaganj upazila in the area during the cyclone storm but further detail including identities of the victim could not be known immediately, reports our local correspondent.


By Daily Star
November 11, 2019

Environment

Asia vulnerable to rising sea levels

According to new research, much of Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City are projected to be below high-tide by 2050. New research published Tuesday finds that previous projections for the number of people who will be impacted by sea level rise have been too optimistic. A new projection method which uses artificial intelligence has found that as many as 150 million people are currently living on land that will be below the high-tide line by 2050, three times more than previously thought. And much of the impacts of sea level rise will be felt by a handful of coastal Asian countries. The paper, which was published in the journal Nature Communications, estimates that 70 percent of the total number of people worldwide currently living on vulnerable land are in eight Asian countries: China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippine


By Quinn Libson
November 1, 2019