SINGAPORE: Smog levels in Singapore from Indonesian forest fires hit the highest level on record on Wednesday as the air pollutant index breached the “hazardous” level.

The index soared to 321 at 10:00 pm (1400 GMT), according the the website of the National Environment Agency, well past the 300-mark considered “hazardous”. Before Wednesday, Singapore's most severe haze reading was in September 1997 when the number peaked at 226.

Anything above 200 is considered “very unhealthy”, particularly to the elderly, young children and people with heart and lung disease.

When levels hit hazardous, vulnerable people can experience “early onset of certain diseases in addition to significant aggravation of (already present) symptoms,” the NEA said. Now that the pollution levels have topped the 300 threshold, elderly people with existing heart or lung diseases are advised to stay indoors and the general population to “avoid vigorous outdoor activity”, according to government guidelines.—AFP

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