Singapore smog: Gas masks stock runs low amid record levels of pollution

Fears for building site workers as Indonesia tries to create rain clouds over forest fire


Singapore’s air pollution reached another all-time high before stabilising, as the Indonesian Government stepped up its efforts to extinguish forest fires on Sumatra.

The haze in Singapore eased slightly tonight, with the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI), measured over three hours, dropping to 142, down from the record high of 401 at noon. A PSI above 400 over 24 hours is deemed “life threatening to ill and elderly persons”, while anything above 300 is considered hazardous.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered emergency management officials to “immediately mobilise all the country’s resources” to extinguish the fires on Sumatra.

Two helicopters with cloud-seeding equipment to artificially create rain were deployed from Jakarta and Borneo to Riau province, where the blazes have burned since Monday.

Earlier in the day, Singaporeans flocked to pharmacies and hospitals to buy up N95 gas masks as the air quality continued to decline.

At Tan Tock Seng Hospital residents were rationed to one box of masks each to avoid stockpiling. KK Women’s & Children’s Hospital ran out of children’s gas masks and by the early afternoon most stocks had been exhausted.

Despite the chronic conditions, no government decision was made to stop work. NGOs appealed for the city’s migrant workers – many working without gas masks – to be pulled off building sites dotted around the city-state.

“The workers have a lot of problems with these conditions, and a lot of companies have continued to  operate,” said A K M Mohsin, editor of the Singapore-Bangladeshi newspaper, Bangla Kantha. “The construction companies know if they stop work, they’ll lose money.”

Popular tourist attractions such as the Singapore Flyer were closed, with tourism expected to take a hit.

Some brands tried to cash in on the ‘haze’ effect: Adidas offered Singaporeans a free one-day gym pass to get out of the polluted air – as long as they own one piece of Adidas clothing. While McDonald’s was forced to apologise over a mock PSI advertisement, which read: “Today’s Peak Sauce Index is looking deliciously high.”

Some expats opted to flee with warnings of continued disruptions. Lydia Janssen, a mother of two young children, said she planned to take her children back to the UK while the air was still “hazardous”.

“Being cooked up inside, not feeling you can breathe with two kids both with horrendous coughs... it’s quite a lot of money [to fly back], but it’s the money or the health of our kids.”

people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
voicesBy the man who has
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Are you looking for part time/ ...

SEN (SLD/PMLD) Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Currently looking for teachers ...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?