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Singapore pollution hits 'very unhealthy' level as forests burn

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Singapore's air quality worsened to a level that's close to the "very unhealthy" range as haze from Indonesian forest fires blanketed the city-state.

[SINGAPORE] Singapore's air quality worsened to a level that's close to the "very unhealthy" range as haze from Indonesian forest fires blanketed the city-state.

The country's three-hourly pollution index rose to 184 as of 1 pm local time on Friday, according to the National Environment Agency. Readings exceeding 100 are classified as "unhealthy." Levels above 200 are considered "very unhealthy," with the government warning the public to avoid prolonged outdoor activities.

Smoke from fires in neighboring Indonesia was blown toward Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia. Exacerbated by dry conditions from El Nino, the haze has forced schools in the region to shut and outdoor events to be suspended on some days.

"There has been some deterioration in the haze and visibility conditions in Singapore this morning," the agency said on its website. "For the rest of today, the prevailing winds are forecast to continue blowing from the southeast, and the current hazy conditions are expected to persist."

SINGAPORE