Oral Reply to Parliamentary Question on Preparedness for Transboundary Haze by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) what is the likelihood of severe transboundary haze affecting Singapore this year; (b) what are the measures needed to prepare for such a possibility; and (c) how can the public be better prepared to mitigate the impact of severe transboundary haze.
Mr Yip Hon Weng: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) how is the Government preparing our population for any advent of haze; and (b) whether our hospitals and general practitioners are equipped to handle people who may have respiratory issues from haze.
1 Mr Speaker, my response will address Question Number  on today’s Order Paper as well as Mr Yip Hon Weng’s question for the sitting on 6 July 2023.
2 The ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) hosted by the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) has assessed that an El Niño event is likely to be established over the next one to two months. The ASMC has also forecasted that a positive Indian Ocean Dipole is likely to develop between July and August 2023. Both climate phenomena will bring drier and warmer weather that could intensify the dry season in Singapore and the region, leading to potentially more hotspots and an increased risk of transboundary haze. We expect this year’s dry season to be the hottest and driest since 2019.
3 The Inter-Agency Haze Task Force led by the National Environment Agency (NEA) has been coordinating and updating our national action plans in preparation for possible transboundary haze.
4 The Ministry of Health (MOH) has worked with retail pharmacies to ensure sufficient stocks of N95 masks. MOH maintains a stockpile of N95 masks and is prepared to release masks to retail pharmacies should there be retail supply shortage. There are also plans by the Inter-Agency Haze Task Force to work with PA to distribute masks to low income and vulnerable residents in event of a severe haze episode.
5 All classrooms of Primary and Secondary schools, MOE Kindergartens, and Special Education schools are equipped with air purifiers to enhance the well-being of students during a haze episode. Preschools are similarly required to ensure sufficient air purifiers to accommodate children in the event of haze.
6 MOH has advised medical practitioners on how to manage and treat patients with haze-related conditions, such as asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. MOH has also advised all Public Healthcare Institutions (PHIs) on capacity mitigating measures in view of a potential increase in hospital admissions due to haze-related illnesses. MOH has also worked with Public Healthcare Institutions (PHIs), including nursing homes, to ensure that they have adequate air-purifying equipment and medical supplies.
7 Members of the public have been advised to refer to MOH’s health advisories and to make preparations, such as ensuring that they have air purifiers in good working condition and N95 face masks for prolonged outdoor activities during haze. To stay up to date on the latest air quality situation, members of the public can visit the NEA website, MyENV app, and the haze microsite (haze.gov.sg).