Singapore Haze: Air Quality Classified As ‘Hazardous’ Due to Illegal Forest Fires in Indonesia [PHOTOS]

on June 20 2013 9:43 AM
  • Singapore Haze
    A hotel guest swims in the pool of the Marina Bay Sands Skypark overlooking the haze covered skyline of Singapore. Reuters
  • Singapore Haze
    Shoppers wearing face masks walk to The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands on a hazy day in Singapore. Reuters
  • Singapore Haze
    An aerial view of haze covering Indonesia's Riau province Thursday. Reuters
  • Singapore Haze
    A commuter wearing a face mask stands in a train in Singapore Thursday. Reuters
  • Singapore Haze
    A sign on the counter says "All kinds of face masks are sold out" at a pharmacy in Singapore Thursday. Reuters
  • Singapore Haze
    A man looks at the hazy skyline of the Singapore business district Thursday. Reuters
  • Singapore Haze
    Construction workers wear face masks, to protect them from a heavy smoke haze, as they perform morning exercises at the start of their shift in Singapore Thursday. Reuters
  • Singapore Haze
    People watch a plane sitting on the tarmac at Changi Airport. The haze has caused Singapore's Changi Airport to increase time between takeoffs and landings as a safety measure, causing some departure and arrival delays. Reuters
  • Singapore Haze
    A tourist poses for photos with the Merlion (unseen) in the hazy skyline of Singapore Thursday. Reuters
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The illegal burning of forest land in Indonesia allegedly resulted in smoke-filled skies for Singapore and Malaysia residents Thursday, the cities’ air quality being deemed as “hazardous" and "very unhealthy."

The smoky haze has caused major disruptions throughout the cities since Monday, including delays at Changi Airport due to poor visibility and suspension of fast-food delivery. One unidentified airport in Indonesia reportedly closed due to the haze. According to Reuters, the smoke was caused by forest fires on Sumatra Island in Indonesia that were allegedly set to clear land for palm oil plantations west of Singapore and Malaysia.

Singapore Environmental and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan announced on his Facebook page that officials scheduled a meeting in Jakarta in response to the unsafe air conditions after the pollution standards index reached a record score of 371 Thursday afternoon. “No country or corporation has the right to pollute the air at the expense of Singaporeans’ health and well-being,” said Balakrishnan. “We will insist on definitive action."

Officials in Indonesia blamed companies in Singapore for contributing to the haze, claiming that “zero burning” policies were used to clear the land. “Singapore shouldn’t be like children, in such a tizzy,” said Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Agung Laksono.

Hadi Daryanto, a senior official at Indonesia's Forestry Ministry, said the forest fire allegations are currently under investigation. "What we know is that there are several foreign investors from Singapore involved," he said. "But we can't just blame them for this. We still need to investigate."

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