Two areas in the southern Malaysian state of Johor have declared a state of emergency after pollution levels reached 750 when hazardous conditions are considered when the figure is at 300.
On the other hand, Singapore breathed easier as winds shifted direction. However, schools in Singapore canceled activities for the June vacation and stores ran out of protective masks as smoky haze hit dangerous levels, causing a spat with Indonesia over responsibility. Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has asked Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to provide evidence if Singaporean or Malaysian companies were responsible for the burning, as suggested by some Indonesian officials.
“The improvement in the air quality is due to a change in the direction of the low level winds over Singapore, from South-westerly to southerly, since last night,” according to a statement posted on the NEA’s website. The agency advised people with lung or heart disease to avoid all outdoor activity, while prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion should be minimized by everyone.
Tourists and residents of the city avoid outdoor activities.
The Singapore Flyer ferris wheel suspended operations, while the city’s famous skyscrapers, and the Gardens by the Bay horticultural project, are shrouded in haze.
Outdoor attractions across the city, including the Adventure Cove Waterpark, have seen a dip in visitor numbers. Tour operators have been forced to adjust holiday itineraries, substituting outdoor activities for indoor ones.
At least one sightseeing company, DUCKtours, has cancelled its trips, while Universal Studios Singapore has had to cancel some outdoor shows.
Meanwhile, Changi Airport is increasing the time between takeoffs and landings as a precautionary safety measure, although no delays have been reported.