Smog mostly from forest fires in Indonesia has been blanketing Singapore this week, and on Thursday the air pollution reached unprecedented levels. Singaporeans have been advised to stay indoors if at all possible, due to the officially “hazardous” pollution.
On Thursday the National Environment Agency of Singapore reported a record 371 on the Pollutant Standards Index (an index originally developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). The previous record was 321, recorded late on Wednesday this week. Pollution levels are considered “hazardous” when they reach over 300 on the index. Readings from 201 to 300 are considered “very unhealthy”, and readings from 101 to 200 are considered “unhealthy”.
The cause of the extreme air pollution currently enveloping Singapore is smoke drifting from forest fires, to clear land for agricultural purposes, in Indonesia. Officials have warned that due to the dry weather conditions, the smog will last for days yet.
Singaporean officials have urged Indonesia to do more to prevent farmers from starting fires to clear land for agriculture on Sumatra island. According to the BBC in Singapore, emergency talks were scheduled late on Thursday between the two countries to discuss what can be done about the serious pollution.