Smoke from Indonesian fires worsens air quality in Singapore

Other News Materials 25 February 2008 04:30 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa )- Smoke from fires raging in Indonesia's Riau province degraded air quality in Singapore, where environmental officials warned Monday of several days of haze.

The annual scourge from land-clearing fires usually doesn't spew smoke over Singapore and other countries in the region until July.

The city-state's Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hit 53, exceeding the good range of 0 to 50. Readings of 51 to 100 are considered moderate, and above 100 on the index represents unhealthy conditions.

Officials in Indonesia "know that we are concerned about this, and I hope they do something about it," The Straits Times quoted Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim as saying.

Singapore has sent satellite images to Indonesia pinpointing the hotspots.

Firefighters in the province are injecting water into peatland to help douse embers smouldering several metres underground.

Choking smoke from the flames has blanketed parts of neighbouring North Sumatra and Jambi province and also covered the coast of Serdang Bedagi, forcing fishermen to stay indoors, the report said.

The city-state pledged 1 million Singapore dollars (709,000 US dollars) in November to help prevent the Indonesian fires.