Korea has Psy, the USA has Jay-Z
Singapore has PSI & Hay-Z
Have you seen the news? The haze in Singapore has reached record levels. What haze? Where is it from? Trent has been talking to us about this for days now, and I’ve been following it pretty closely on the internet. I’ve had a few people ask me about this, and it seems there is little to nothing on our news here in the USA about this.
It’s caused by seasonal burn-off on Sumatra island started by plantation owners and farmers to clear land cheaply.
The smoggy haze has affected Singapore and Malaysia in years past, but the severity of this week’s conditions has hit record levels, and has strained diplomatic ties. Singapore’s pollution standards index (PSI) tipped the scales at 401 at noon on Friday, the highest ever recorded, and the government warned that the lingering haze could last for weeks. The previous record high was in the 200 range.
The National Environment Agency warned the elderly, pregnant women, children and those with heart and lung conditions to remain indoors as the index hit an historic high. An index reading above 300 is defined as “hazardous” and is regarded as potentially life threatening to the ill and elderly. Singapore is completely sold out of air purifiers, respiratory masks, and simple masks. Everyone is wearing them now, it’s a must to be healthy. I saw this photo on a twitter feed, and while it breaks my heart that the air is this bad, I just love that the spirit of the people in Singapore, that life goes on, deal with it, make the best of it. YOLO, right? (you only live once .. it’s what all the kids are saying)
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsieng Loong warned angry residents about the smoke wafting in from Indonesia that they may have to learn to live with it, for now. He says that there is no way to know what is going to happen, it depends on the burning, it depends on the weather (monsoon season), and it depends on the wind. It could linger as long as September or October. Considering the fact that they are putting out the fires with buckets of water and brooms to beat the flames, I’m thinking that a heavy rain at the beginning on monsoon season will be the answer.
While schools remained closed in Singapore for the summer break, more than 300 were shut temporarily in nearby Malaysia due to the haze. Many office workers in the city-state, meanwhile, struggled to get to work through the haze-shrouded central business district. Here is a picture sent to Maria by her new friend at the Singapore American School.
Singapore — which prides itself on its good air quality and green credentials – — has blamed Indonesian commercial interests for causing the smoke problem.
“Singaporeans have lost patience, and are understandably angry, distressed and concerned,” Singapore’s Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan wrote on his Facebook page. “No country or corporation has the right to pollute the air at the expense of Singaporeans’ health and wellbeing.”
Side note: I find it interesting that this man has a facebook page, however, everyone is so techie these days, I guess it does make sense to communicate via social media.
He says that Jakarta has pointed the finger at Singaporean palm oil ventures. They are being blamed for causing the smog by clearing land to make way for plantations that provide the feedstock for city-state’s refining industry. A slash-and-burn technique being that is said to be used is the cheapest land-clearing method. But supposedly this practice is also widely used by local farmers in Indonesia as well. Three Singapore-based palm oil companies with land concessions in Indonesia said this week they had “zero burning” policies and used only mechanical means to clear land.
Clearly this is becoming heated (no pun intended) and tensions are rising between the countries.
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee said the city-state had provided satellite data to Indonesia to help identify who was responsible for the fires. I found this photo on a NASA site:
I am worried about Trent, because he was not able to get a respirator, despite the fact they are a 3M product. He is staying indoors as much as possible, however, he says it smells inside his office and also inside the Sheraton. The Sheraton? Yes, he has been living at the Sheraton since late April!! This is a beautiful swanky hotel, however, to keep costs down, they turn the air con off for about 4 hours each day, usually in the wee hours of the morning, and then they crank it back up again by 5 am. It normally doesn’t bother anyone, however, now with the haze & smoke, those few hours of not having clean air vented and circulated in the high-rise has effected the air quality inside. There are reports that this smog/haze/smoke is toxic! Trent says that it hasn’t rained there in days, which is unusual, so I’m praying for a much needed rainfall for Singapore!!
Here are a few photos I found of some well-known Singapore landmarks taken by web-cams.
And here’s a cute one of the Merlion with a respirator!
To follow real-time PSI readings and twitter feed #sghaze: http://dashsell.com/sgpsi