Rumours that cloud seeding is taking place to induce rain ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix are false, Minister for Environment and Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said.
Addressing a WhatsApp message that has been making the rounds in Singapore, Dr Balakrishnan posted on Facebook on Thursday (Sep 17): “The National Environment Agency does not engage in cloud seeding and has no plans to do so. Singapore is so small that even if anybody tried to do it, the rain would almost certainly fall outside Singapore.”
He added: “Singaporeans should beware of malicious people spreading false rumours during a period when anxieties are heightened.”
The original WhatsApp message called for people to be wary of what it claimed were “chemically-induced rain showers”, purportedly meant to reduce haze levels in light of the coming Formula 1 race, which will be held on roads in Singapore’s Civic District from Sep 18 to 20.
Singapore has been blanketed by haze caused by forest fires in neighbouring Indonesia. The 3-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hit two-year highs earlier in September, with readings crossing 200. They have dipped below 100 in the past two days.
AIR QUALITY TO REMAIN MODERATE: NEA
In an advisory released on Thursday, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said that hazy conditions in Singapore have eased further as prevailing winds continue to blow from the southeast. As at 1pm, the 24-hour PSI was 76 to 96, in the Moderate range.
For the next 12 hours, the 24-hour PSI is expected to be in the high end of the Moderate range, but may enter the low end of the Unhealthy range if unfavourable winds blow in haze from Sumatra, the agency added.
NEA reiterated that the health impact of the haze is dependent on a person’s health status, the PSI level, and the length and intensity of outdoor activity.
“Reducing outdoor activities and physical exertion can help limit the ill effects from haze exposure,” said the NEA. “Given the air quality forecast for the next 24 hours, healthy persons should reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion.”
“The elderly, pregnant women and children should minimise prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion, while those with chronic lung or heart disease should avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion,” NEA added.