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Singapore considers fighting smog by seeding clouds for rain

June 21, 2013 at 8:16 AM

SINGAPORE, June 21 (UPI) -- The Singapore government has prepared cloud-seeding equipment to try to induce a downpour to help remove record levels of smog, officials said.

Smoke from fires on the Sumatra Islands has contributed to thick smog in Singapore and Indonesia.

Indonesian Forestry Ministry General Secretary Hadi Daryanto said rain would provide relief from the fires, which are difficult to fight because peat on the forest floor is burning up to 13 feet below ground, The Jakarta Post reported Friday.

"If there is no downpour then the haze could last for weeks, or even months, as we try to generate artificial rain," Hadi said.

Hadi dismissed seeding clouds to trigger a downpour because it could take weeks but Singapore officials have prepared the necessary equipment to attempt the feat, the BBC reported.

Singapore's pollution level hit a record for the third day in a row, the report said.

At one point, Singapore's pollution standards index reached 400. A PSI reading above 200 is considered "very unhealthy" and a PSI measuring above 300 is "hazardous." The country's previous high was 226 in September 1997.

The haze is also affecting neighboring Malaysia, where about 300 schools were closed because of unsafe conditions, the BBC said.

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