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NEWS
Press Release
Singapore Government Agencies Coordinate Efforts to Mitigate Haze Impact on Public


Date Published: 19 Jun 2013

Singapore, 19 June 2013 –The 3-hour PSI reading as at 11pm is 282. The 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reading as at 11pm today is in the range of 130 to 150, which is in the Unhealthy range. The 24-hour PM2.5 concentration is 160 to 202µg/m3 as at 11pm today. We expect the 24-hour PSI to increase overnight and may reach Very Unhealthy levels.

Haze Situation
 
2          Drier weather conditions in the region have led to an escalation in hotspot activities mainly over central Sumatra. 187 and 173 hotspots were detected over Sumatra on 18 and 19 June 2013 respectively. The smoke haze from the fires in Sumatra was brought over by prevailing winds blowing from the southwest or west, and has affected Singapore since 13 June 2013. We expect the wind and weather conditions to remain constant and therefore the haze will persist.
 
3          Based on the 24-hour PSI readings, the Ministry of Health (MOH) advises that Singaporeans limit prolonged or heavy outdoor activities. In particular, children, the elderly, and those with heart or lung diseases, should avoid outdoor activities and seek medical treatment early if they feel unwell. MOH has activated the hospitals to prepare for the anticipated increase in the number of cases of asthma, bronchitis and conjunctivitis.

Whole-of-Government Coordinated Approach
 
4          Given the current haze situation, all 23 Government agencies that form the Inter-Agency Haze Task Force (HTF) have been activated and are co-ordinating their respective action plans to mitigate the effects of haze on the public (see Annex A for list of HTF members).
 
5          The guidelines and advisories issued by the agencies to their respective sectors continue to be relevant. For example, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has disseminated guidelines on limiting outdoor physical activities in schools, and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) requires childcare centres and kindergartens to cancel all outdoor activities for the children and for the operators to monitor the health situation of the children closely. In the case of a child falling sick, his parents should be informed and medical attention sought immediately. The Ministry of Defence has in place a set of guidelines to limit outdoor activities and training based on the PSI readings. This ensures that SAF troops can train safely by modifying the nature and intensity of outdoor activities. The Ministry of Home Affairs is also adopting appropriate precautionary measures for the well-being of our Home Team officers and National Servicemen deployed for active duties, while ensuring that overall safety and security functions are not compromised (see Annex B for respective advisories relevant to various stakeholder groups).

6          The HTF will continue to monitor the situation closely. HTF agencies will provide further advisories should the haze situation deteriorate.

International Developments

7          The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for the Environment and Water Resources had earlier conveyed the seriousness of the situation to their Indonesian counterparts and urged immediate action. CEO of NEA, Mr Andrew Tan, will be leading a delegation to Jakarta tomorrow, 20 June 2013, for an emergency haze meeting convened by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry.

Background Information: PSI and PM2.5 Readings

8          PSI is an index developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to provide accurate, timely and easily understandable information about daily levels of air pollution. Air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide and particulate matter 10 (PM10) are used in the determination of the index. The figure is derived by averaging data collected for the past 24 hours. Computation of the PSI can be found here: http://app2.nea.gov.sg/docs/default-source/default-document-library/computation-of-psi.pdf? sfvrsn=0.

9          The figure for the 3-hour PSI is derived by averaging data collected for the past three hours. This index is unique to Singapore and was introduced in 1997 to provide additional air quality information which would better reflect a more current air quality situation.

10         The PSI readings and health advisories for the five regions in Singapore (North, South, East, West and Central), which are updated at 8am, 12 noon and 4pm are available at the PSI page. The public can also access PSI updates through the following channels:

·         Weather@SG website
·         NEA Twitter
·         NEA Call Centre at 1800 CALL NEA (1800 2255 632)
·         NEA myENV App on iPhone and Android

11       
Health advisories are based on the USEPA’s guidelines. Only the 24-hour PSI value and not the 3-hour PSI value is correlated to the health effects outlined in NEA’s advisories. NEA’s health advisories are determined by the worse of the 24-hour PSI and 24-hour PM2.5 value.
 

 ~ End ~


ANNEX A

Members of the Haze Task Force
 
The Haze Task Force (HTF) was formed in September 1994 and is part of a co-ordinated effort across the whole of government. The HTF comprises representatives from 23 government agencies.

 

S/N

Agency

1

Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources

2

Ministry of Transport

3

Ministry of Social and Family Development

4

Ministry of Defence

5

Ministry of Education

6

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

7

Ministry of Health

8

Ministry of Home Affairs

9

Ministry of Communications and Information

10

Ministry of Manpower

11

Ministry of National Development

12

Ministry of Trade and Industry

13

Building Control Authority

14

Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore

15

Economic Development Board

16

Energy Market Authority

17

Land Transport Authority

18

Maritime & Port Authority

19

People’s Association

20

Singapore Civil Defence Force

21

Singapore Police Force

22

Singapore Sports Council

23

Singapore Tourism Board

 


ANNEX B
 
HAZE ADVISORIES for the public
 

Listed are the general advisories for various stakeholder groups for the current PSI level.

Community

Advisory

24-hour PSI Level 101-200

24-hour PSI Level 201-300

General Public

·  Limit prolonged or heavy outdoor activities.

·  Children, the elderly and those with heart or lung diseases, should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor activities, and seek medical treatment early if they feel unwell.

·  Outdoor activities / courses under People’s Association will be reduced or postponed at PSI > 150. All activities / courses should be conducted indoors. Participants with heart ailments and respiratory problems should take precaution according to NEA and MOH’s advisories.

·  Limit prolonged or heavy outdoor activities.

·  Children, the elderly and those with heart or lung diseases, should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor activities, and seek medical treatment early if they feel unwell.

·  All indoor and outdoor activities / courses should be reduced, postponed or cancelled.

School Children
(Primary, Secondary, Pre-University)

·  Outdoor physical activities, physical education lessons, sports and games to be cancelled.

·  Schools to standby one air-conditioned room (e.g. the library/AVA room) equipped with portable air cleaner to accommodate pupils with breathing-related problems before they are taken to seek medical attention if required.

·  All physical activities, both indoor and outdoor, to be suspended.


·  Schools to standby one air-conditioned room (e.g. the library/AVA room) equipped with portable air cleaner to accommodate pupils with breathing-related problems before they are taken to seek medical attention if required.

Children in Child Care Centres and Kindergartens

·  Cancel all outdoor activities for the children.

·  Monitor the health situations of the children closely.  Should any child fall sick, inform the parents and seek medical attention immediately.

·  Cancel all outdoor activities for the children.

·  Keep children strictly indoors, close all doors and windows.




·  Monitor the health situation of the children closely.  Should any child fall sick, inform the parents and seek medical attention immediately.

Employees

·  Employers should minimise outdoor work which involves strenuous physical activity.

·  Employers should provide suitable respirators to susceptible employees working outdoors.

·  If susceptible employees have difficulty working outdoors, employers should deploy them to work indoors.

·  Employers should ensure that outdoor work involving strenuous physical activity be avoided

·  Employers should provide suitable respirators to all employees carrying out outdoor work.


·  Employers should deploy susceptible employees to work indoors, preferably doing work which is not physically strenuous.

Sports Community

·  All sports facilities will remain open.



·  All outdoor sports activities organised by SSC will be cancelled / postponed.





·  If PSI<150, all sports activities organised by SSC (competitive and non-competitive) in non air-conditioned environment, will continue as planned.

·  If PSI>150, all sports activities organised by SSC in non air-conditioned environment will be cancelled / postponed.

·  Sports activities in air-conditioned environment will continue.

·  Display notices to advise elderly and persons with medical conditions or respiratory ailments e.g. heart or lung disease to refrain from outdoor sporting activity.

·  Sports activities in air-conditioned environment may continue.

·  Display notices to advise elderly and persons with medical condition or respiratory ailments eg heart or lung disease to refrain from sporting activity.

·  Increase cleaning frequency of air devices e.g. air-conditioners, exhaust fans etc at sports facilities and offices.



    

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