Thanks to the recent forest fires in Indonesia’s Sumatra and Kalimantan islands, air quality in Singapore and neighboring Malaysia have deteriorated to unhealthy levels.
Readings on the National Environment Agency (NEA) website showed that at 10am on September 18 (Wed), the 24-hour PSI in Singapore was considered “unhealthy” after it reached a range of 107 to 122, up from 91 to 102 on Tuesday afternoon.
This brought Singapore to within the top four cities in the world for poor air quality according to air pollution app AirVisual’s ranking. It ranked sixth at the same time just a day before. Kuala Lumpur’s air quality worsened, surpassing Delhi and Hanoi to top the table.
But when country-wide readings are considered, Indonesia remained the second-most air-polluted in the world, according to the World Air Quality Index, which ranks countries based on their real time air quality.
A screenshot from AirVisual Earth’s real time map of air quality shows a massive layer of smog enveloping the region. For comparison, the smog cloud is over half the size of India.
In Penang, Malaysia where the Air Pollution Index (API) reached 257 or “very unhealthy”, all schools have announced closures for Thursday (September 19) as a precautionary measure.
In the east Malaysian state of Sarawak, air quality reached hazardous levels on Tuesday forcing a closure of over 600 schools.
In Singapore, The Ministry of Education (MOE) said that it will consider closing schools when the air quality forecast enters the “hazardous” level.