Concerns raised over haze in Singapore ahead of GP

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Organizers of the Singapore Grand Prix are keeping a close eye on pollution levels in the city’s air ahead of next weekend’s race.

Singapore is currently experiencing high levels of haze due to the annual forest burning in nearby Indonesia to clear land for agriculture.

According to the Air Quality Index, the air in Singapore is currently rated as “unhealthy” due to the added pollution that has created a haze over the city, recording a rating of 159. In comparison, New York City’s AQI score is a healthy 23, whilst Shanghai’s comes in at 50.

The haze has resulted in the cancellation or alteration of recent sporting events. The Strait Times reported that the Safra Celebration Run and Ride event saw its 5km celebration run and 1.5km life run be reduced to walks “to prevent participants from engaging in ‘strenuous outdoor physical exertion'”.

The Singapore National Environement Agency has also issued a warning, saying: “Given the air quality forecast for the next 24 hours, healthy persons should avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion.

“The elderly, pregnant women and children should minimise outdoor activity, while those with chronic lung or heart disease should avoid outdoor activity. Persons who are not feeling well, especially the elderly and children, and those with chronic heart or lung conditions, should seek medical attention.”

As a result, the organizers of the Singapore Grand Prix are now on red alert, but explained to Reuters that a plan is in place should the haze remain a problem for next weekend’s race.

“The possibility of haze is just one of the many potential issues that are covered in the overall 2015 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix Contingency Plan,” a spokesperson said.

“The plan was formulated and refined with stake holders, government bodies and the Formula 1 community.

“In the event that the haze caused visibility, public health or operational issues Singapore GP would work closely with the relevant agencies before making any collective decisions regarding the event.”

The Singapore Grand Prix is one of just two night races on the F1 calendar, starting at 8pm local time before finishing around two hours later.