Singapore Grand Prix organisers say there are contingency plans in place to help drivers cope with the threat of hail from neighbouring Indonesia ahead of next week’s race. Formula One officials are confident that the Grand Prix will go ahead as planned despite threats from the haze, according to a statement from the organisers.
Singapore’s Haze Law is an attempt to prevent fires that cause air pollution, and last year Singapore responded to the haze by banning diesel cars and other diesel vehicles in the city – state. There are reports that air quality in Singapore has reached levels that are ‘unhealthy’, with air quality deteriorating on Wednesday 18 September.
Singapore’s Haze Law was passed in 2009 and provides for the prosecution of behaviour that causes or contributes to haze pollution in Singapore. The law allows for the possibility of fines against companies, but the absence of a legal framework for prosecuting foreign companies means that Singapore no longer has the work to hold companies to account.
The law passed by parliament on Tuesday was praised by politicians and environmentalists for its ability to fight the smoke from forest fires in neighboring Indonesia that have choked the city – state. Indonesia has failed to tackle the problem despite repeated promises, and Singapore has decided to take matters into its own hands after biting smoke blanketed the island for months, posing a threat to the health and concerns of the tourism industry. Singapore’s Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan flew to Jakarta on Wednesday to meet with representatives of Indonesia’s Environment Ministry, the Indonesian Environmental Protection Agency and the Indonesian government to coordinate a response to the smoke problem.
The haze caused by seasonal burns in Sumatra has strained friendly relations between the two countries, as well as relations between Singapore and Indonesia’s largest trading partner.
Indonesian business interests, Singapore, which prides itself on its good air quality and green credentials, blame it for the smoking problem. Jakarta, meanwhile, has pointed the finger at smog, which it says is caused by land clearing that is giving way to plantations that provide raw materials for the city – the state’s refining industry. The eviction is believed to be on behalf of the country’s oil and gas industry, a major source of income for Jakarta.
The bill makes those who cause haze criminally and civilly liable, but it is written in such a way that law enforcement officers have a relatively low threshold to prove that a company in Singapore has polluted the air. Singapore’s authorities can rely on data from air quality monitors and other sources to give an indication of where the smoke originates.
Indonesian fires that choked parts of the region shot up in Singapore, and Singapore can then put an “S” on its air pollution standard index, which has risen to unhealthy levels. At dangerous levels, haze poses a serious threat to human health and the environment, as well as to animal health.
More than a thousand schools in Malaysia have been forced to close, while haze has even led to the death of a four-month-old baby in Indonesia. The haze, as it is called, is caused by fires in nearby Indonesia and Malaysia and is an annual problem in the region. As Singapore prepares for Formula One glory, the normally clear blue skies have turned to misty and fading gray.
The air, officially classified as “unhealthy” this week, smells burning and the NEA said the deterioration in air quality was due to winds blowing more smoke and haze from Sumatra, south of Singapore. Fires raged in parts of Indonesia and Malaysia in January and last month, and the capital of Kuala Lumpur state was also shrouded in a thick haze of fires in Indonesia’s Sulawesi province.
The NEA said the deteriorating air quality was due to winds blowing more smoke and haze from Sumatra, south of Singapore. In January and last month, fires raged in parts of Indonesia and Malaysia, and the capital, Kuala Lumpur, in Indonesia’s Sulawesi province, was also shrouded in a thick fog of fire. Dry weather is expected this week, with the likelihood of dry weather over the next few days. “PSI can enter the middle of the unhealthy range when thick haze is blown in,” the NEA warned.
Dry weather is expected this week and the likelihood of it staying dry into next week is high. The NEA warned that if thick haze is blown in, it could enter the middle of the unhealthy range. That could change on Sunday, when winds blow from south to east, giving Singapore some relief from pollution down south. But the winds are not expected to bring Singapore back to its normal level of air quality, according to the NE aEUR ™ forecast.
The 24-hour PSI is forecast by the National Environment Agency (NEA) to be between 91 and 102 over the next 24 hours. Relatively clear skies will continue over the weekend, with highs of 91 to 102 degrees on Sunday and lows of 92 degrees.