The Air Pollution Standard Index (ISPU) reached a hazardous level on Saturday in several cities, including in Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan, Pontianak in West Kalimantan and in Riau’s cities of Pekanbaru, Kampar, Bengkalis and Siak.
Palangkaraya’s air quality suffered the most according to Saturday’s 2 p.m reading, reaching 1,912 micro grams per cubic meter (mg/m3), while others’ ranged from 401 to 602 mg/m3.
“The pollution index readings in these cities are far above the minimum hazard threshold, which is 350 mg/m3,” said National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho on Saturday as quoted by setkab.go.id.
He added that Jambi’s ISPU was not being monitored due to broken devices and that the index in Banjarbaru in South Kalimantan and Samarinda in East Kalimantan were both at mid-level with 66 and 98 mg/m3 respectively.
According to Sutopo, visibility in Palangkaraya since Saturday morning had been only 50 to 300 meters.
“Meanwhile, visibility in Jambi city and Kerinci, in Jambi, Sintang in West Kalimantan and Pekanbaru is between 300 and 500 meters,” said Sutopo.
The smog has also affected people’s health. Cases of respiratory infection have increased in several regions including South Kalimantan with 53,428 reported cases, Pekanbaru with 34,846, South Sumatra with 22,855, West Kalimantan with 21,130 and Central Kalimantan with 4,121.
Sutopo also said that the air quality in Singapore had gotten better. On Friday, Singapore recorded a very unhealthy ISPU reading of between 267 and 322 mg/m3.
“On Saturday, Singapore’s index was between 90 and 107, which is moderate,” said Sutopo.
He added that all smoke emergency operations were still ongoing in the air and on the ground as well as law enforcement and social welfare efforts.
“There are two reasons why the fires are still burning: extinguished fires have caught fire again in peatlands and people are still starting fires,” said Sutopo.
According to local reports as well as satellite images, both old and new hot spots are still being detected