Thick smoke has covered parts of Singapore and Malaysia after a series of illegal forest fires in Indonesia. Officials in both countries have advised residents and those on holiday in Malaysia and Singapore to stay indoors as the smog is expected to reach “unhealthy” levels over the weekend.
Air pollution in some of Singapore’s most popular tourist destinations has reached dangerous levels due to the illegal forest clearing fires. The usually clear country has seen its pollutant standards index reach its highest level in nearly seven years, affecting tourist areas such as the Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer.
The thick smoke is expected to hit the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur over the weekend, affecting numerous tourist destinations in the city. Tourists and locals have been advised to stay inside for the next few days as pollution levels reach dangerous highs.
"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," said Singapore's National Environment Agency in a statement. "Everyone else should limit prolonged or heavy outdoor activities."
The smoky haze has been caused by forest fires on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Both countries are urging Indonesia to do something to prevent the illegal fires, as the smog continues to affect Singapore's and Malaysia’s tourism industries.
The last time a haze has been this bad in the two countries was in 1997, when thick smog was created by similar fires on the island. Since then a ban has been agreed in ASEAN countries to prevent such fires, but the law has been largely ignored in Indonesia.
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