Singapore schools, Grand Prix on edge as bad haze persists

Vast tracts of land are cleared on Sumatra and the Indonesian part of Borneo island, using illegal slash-and-burn methods to make way for palm oil and paper plantations.


Organisers of the Singapore Grand Prix were also keeping a close watch on the situation.

In Singapore, the index reached 249 on Monday, putting it in the “very unhealthy” category.

The Indonesian government has taken legal action against companies involved in causing forest fires in the country that triggered haze enveloping Singapore and Malaysia, police said here today.

With fears from many that the visibility of the race will be affected by the haze, the organisers of one of the most important races on the Formula One calendar are currently monitoring the situation of the weather before they pass any judgement on whether it will be a threat to the huge event.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting will meet with drivers and then teams in Singapore before they come to a decision on the race. That city is less than 200 miles from Singapore where some outdoor weekend events were cancelled because of poor air quality.

The Singapore race is held under floodlights on a narrow and bumpy street circuit which snakes past historic and modern landmarks of the wealthy former British colony. Some 34 of 52 air quality stations recorded unhealthy air levels early Tuesday.

The personnel were dispatched to Riau and South Sumatra provinces to help local authorities fight fires, joining over 1,000 soldiers sent to the area last week, Indonesia’s disaster agency said.

A heavy downpour brought some relief although the strong smell of burning wood and foliage remained in the air.

Indonesia’s Riau province declared an emergency after its air pollutant index hit extremely dangerous levels.

Gov Arsyadjuliandi Rachman declared an emergency in the province on Monday, setting up health posts and ordering community health centres to stay open. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) addressed the issue with members signing up to an agreement on cross-border pollution in 2002.

A number of measures will be put in place for the September 18 to 20 race, said Singapore GP.


Singapore Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan reiterated the city-state’s concerns about the haze to his Indonesian counterpart Siti Nurbaya, and extended its offer to help.

Marina Bay Circuit Singapore