From: Associated Press
Published October 2, 2006 12:00 AM

Singapore Skies Smoggy from Indonesia Fires; Air Quality Rated Moderate

SINGAPORE — Forest fires in Indonesia have created smoggy skies in neighboring Singapore, although the city-state says the air quality hasn't deteriorated to unhealthy levels.

Hazy skies appeared in Singapore because of forest fires on Indonesia's Sumatra island and a change in wind direction, the National Environment Agency said Monday.

It also said air quality was likely to stay "moderate" -- a grade above "unhealthy" -- until Wednesday, when the situation is expected to improve after prevailing winds shift direction.

The Straits Times newspaper published a front-page photograph showing that Singapore's skyline was obscured Sunday afternoon because of smoke from burning trees. The skyline remained clouded Monday.

Haze -- a term used in Southeast Asia to describe the annual smog arising from the illegal burning of forests to clear land for plantations in Indonesia -- will likely continue over the next two days, the agency said.

According to the agency's Web site, Singapore's 24-hour pollutant standards index as of 4 p.m. Sunday was "good," with a reading of 41.

The agency defines an index reading of below 50 as good, a reading of 51-100 as moderate, and anything above 100 as unhealthy.

Source: Associated Press

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