At 10pm last night, the Pollutant Standards Index stood at 321 – the highest in the country’s history – as fires continued to rage in neighbouring Sumatra. The previous record was 226, in 1997.
Air becomes “very unhealthy” past the PSI’s 200 mark and “hazardous” when it crosses 300.
In response to questions at an 11.30pm press conference last night, Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said the Manpower Ministry may issue a general stop-work order – but only if the haze situation worsens severely. A decision will also have to be made on whether to close childcare centres and schools.
The Ministry of Manpower will provide an update to employers today about what to do, while the Ministry of Health has also alerted hospitals to cope with a potential increase in patients with respiratory problems.
Dr Balakrishnan said the National Environment Agency’s (NEA’s) chief executive, Mr Andrew Tan, will lead a delegation to Indonesia today to an emergency haze meeting convened by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry.
“We are now at the stage where nobody anywhere in the world should believe that they have a right to pollute, to take short cuts and to make money at the expense of people’s health,” Dr Balakrishnan said.
In Singapore, a 23-agency haze task force met on Tuesday to coordinate plans to reduce the haze’s impact on people.