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Singapore’s air quality reached the unhealthy level this morning, one month after the government passed its first transboundary haze bill.
Singapore’s three-hour Pollutant Standards Index was at 102 at 8 a.m. local time, and was as high as 113 at 6 a.m., the National Environment Agency, or NEA, said on its website. The 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index was at 77 to 105 as the government agency reported “hotspots” across Indonesia, with the highest pollutant levels recorded on the island’s western region. A reading of 101 to 200 is deemed “unhealthy.”
“Hotspot activities in Kalimantan remained elevated,” the NEA said on its website based on readings recorded yesterday. “Widespread hotspots with smoke haze were observed.”
Singapore and Malaysia have been plagued for decades by periodic haze caused by clouds of ash from forest fires in Indonesia, with regular spats over responsibility. The haze situation was expected to worsen in the second half due to El Nino, Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam said in May.
A year after the island-state endured its worst-ever air quality, Singapore passed the bill in August that subjects foreign companies to as much as S$2 million ($1.6 million) in fines for illegal emissions.
Singapore saw its Pollutant Standards Index reach a record 401 last year, while a state of emergency was called in parts of Malaysia’s southern Johor state after smog readings surged above hazardous levels.
To contact the reporter on this story: Tanya Angerer in Singapore at email@example.com. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Linus Chua at firstname.lastname@example.org; James Holloway at email@example.com.