Singapore haze levels have reached its highest level in seven years, forcing the city-state to call on Indonesia to curb illegal forest clearing measures, while it told its citizens to avoid staying outdoors for long periods of time.
Locals in Singapore noted that the haze smelled like burned wood while haze obscured skyscrapers from view, according to the National Environment Agency.
“The smoke haze from the fires in Sumatra was brought over by prevailing winds blowing from the southwest or west, and has affected Singapore” since last Thursday, it said in a statement on Monday.
The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources said that the PSI, or the Pollutant Standards Index, reached 150 at times–the highest amount since 2006.
“Given the current hazy conditions, it is advised that children, the elderly and those with heart or lung diseases reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor activities,” Singapore’s National Environment Agency said in a statement obtained by Reuters.
Singapore authorities said the haze was caused by forest fires on Sumatra, the largest island of Indonesia.
The Singapore environment agency “alerted the Indonesian Ministry of Environment on the haze situation experienced in Singapore, and urged the Indonesian authorities to look into urgent measures to mitigate the transboundary haze occurrence,” reads a statement on its website.
Malaysian authorities also said that the air quality reached unhealthy levels due to the pollution blown over from Sumatra.
Indonesia has been plagued by illegal forest clearing, especially during the dry season over the summer months.