Smoking Foul (Haze)

The haze reading continued to soar through the nite making it dangerously close to 400 at 371 (1pm Singapore time or 5am GMT today 20th June 2013) which would be deemed as "life threatening" to the ill and elderly people according to our NEA guidelines.

The haze reading continued to soar through the night making it dangerously close to 400 at psi reading of 371 (at 1pm Singapore time or 5am GMT today 20th June 2013). Psi above 400 would be deemed as “life threatening” to the ill and elderly people according to our NEA guidelines.

Yesterday, everything seemed fine in the earlier part of the day but come night our world suddenly became shrouded. Supplies of face masks ran out islandwide. This reminded me of the pandemic, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in 2003. It is scary. We are scared and frustrated but everyone can only hope for the better and pray for heavy rain to fall and douse the raging fires soon.

The heartlanders (majority averaged income earners) are feeling the heat. Closed windows in homes needed fans and air conditioning which ultimately will raise issues of higher costs of utility bills. Many of us are living from hand to mouth and unexpected increase in living expenses like medical (many are also suffering from the inhalation of dust and smoke particles especially the very young and elderly) and utility bills are taking its toll on us. Food centres which are open air also suffered from lack of business. Nobody wants to go out but still there are workers (without choice) at the construction sites labouring away in low visibility and harsh conditions.

Below is Channel News Asia’s report 20th June 2013:

Indonesia chides Singapore over reactions on haze situation

SINGAPORE: Indonesia on Thursday accused Singapore of acting “like a child” over acrid smog from forest fires in Sumatra that has triggered the city-state’s worst environmental crisis in more than a decade, as the two nations held talks.

The escalation in tensions between Singapore and Indonesia came as the levels of haze enveloping the island hit a new record high, shrouding the whole city, from residential blocks to tree-lined parks.

Singapore ratcheted up pressure on Jakarta on Thursday to take “definitive action” to stop the fires but Indonesia, which insists Singapore companies that own plantations on Sumatra also share the blame, hit back.

“Singapore should not be behaving like a child and making all this noise,” Agung Laksono, the minister coordinating Indonesia’s response, told reporters.

“This is not what the Indonesian nation wants, it is because of nature.”

The minister for people’s welfare also insisted that Indonesia did not want any financial assistance to fight the fires from Singapore unless it was a large amount.

“If it is only half a million, or one million dollars, we don’t need that. We would rather use our own national budget,” he said.

His comments came as an emergency meeting hosted by Indonesia’s foreign ministry in Jakarta and attended by the chief executive of Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA), Andrew Tan, got under way.

Singapore’s air pollution index meanwhile hit a new record high, soaring to 371 at 1:00 pm (0500 GMT), well past the previous high of 321 set the night before.

Any reading above 300 is “hazardous” while a reading above 400 is deemed “life-threatening to ill and elderly people,” according to NEA guidelines.

“This is now the worst haze that Singapore has ever faced,” said Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s minister for the environment and water resources.

“We need urgent and definitive action by Indonesia to tackle the problem at source,” he said on Facebook.

“Singaporeans have lost patience, and are understandably angry, distressed and concerned.”

Smog still shrouded the city-state as residents went to work Thursday, and more commuters were seen wearing disposable medical masks than in previous days.

The acrid odour of burnt wood and grass could be smelled in living rooms and bedrooms across the island as well as inside the air-conditioned trains.

Drug stores in the central business district were sold out of disposable masks and refused to take advance orders, telling customers to return the next day in case new stocks arrived.

Parks were empty of the usual morning joggers, but thousands of employees still trooped to offices and labourers continued their work on high-rise buildings under construction.

The previous Singapore air pollutant index high of 226 was recorded in September 1997 at the height of a Southeast Asian calamity also resulting from vast amounts of haze from Indonesia, where slash-and-burn farming generates heavy smoke during the dry season that begins in June.

Parts of Malaysia close to Singapore have also been severely affected by the smog.

Laksono said that plans to use cloud-seeding to unleash rain over Sumatra and put out the fires were also under way, and it was hoped helicopters could be dispatched on Friday.

Smallholders and plantations in Sumatra — some of them with Singaporean investors — have been accused of using fire to clear land for cultivation, but big palm oil companies deny involvement in such activities.

– AFP/fa

Click here to see article.

It was quite ironic that I had smoked duck or rather Peking Duck for lunch yesterday (19th June 2013 which was to be my blog post for 20th June but I am delaying the post till tomorrow. The food seemed inappropriate at this time as PD is a delicacy usually eaten during festive or celebratory occasions). There’s haze and fowl but really, today I want to cry foul to those irresponsible companies (Singaporean investments included) to be shut down! They cannot go on slashing and burning forests every year just to cut cost and hiding behind the excuse of nature.

I hope the relevant governments can come to an agreement, to take the necessary steps in making ordinary citizens’ lives better during this time of year (every year) and not just the considerations of profit and loss of big corporations. We count, too!

How does haze hurt the body - Singapore General Hospital.

How does haze hurt the body – Singapore General Hospital.

Enough said, it’s time for action governments!

Let’s put our heads together and move forward!

To those living in the region affected by this haze, do take care and God bless!

Face masks are running out of stock islandwide.

Face masks are running out of stock islandwide.

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Comments
16 Responses to “Smoking Foul (Haze)”
  1. Laura Lynn says:

    I’m so sorry that you are having to live with all that smoke! Very unhealthy and I hope you are taking care of yourself! I hope they PUT those fires out instead of arguing whose fault it is. Take care, Sam.

    • Sam Han says:

      This has been an issue for years now but this year is really bad. Today’s highest reading went up to 390+ but has subsided drastically. Thank you Laura, I will take care 😀

  2. Sofia says:

    Very interesting post Sam. I remember the last time I was in the area (both Singapore and Indonesia) I was quite worried about the air (as an environmental thing) as well as observing an excess of enery use that wasnt necessary (such as way too much air conditioning). xx

  3. renxkyoko says:

    I heard it on the radio today. Wow ! Is it really that bad?

  4. Jessica says:

    😦 It’s interesting to hear the dialogue between Indonesia and Singapore. So much tension I didn’t know existed, but like I didn’t know about the tension between Hong Kong and Mainland China before I lived in Hong Kong. I hope you’re all okay! Wear those masks!!

    • Sam Han says:

      Thanks Jessica, there’s plan to seed the clouds to bring in some rain and hopefully some permanent solutions will be adopted soon and not just talk talk talk and more yearly talks. 🙂

  5. thenerdyscribe says:

    This haze sounds awful. I hope you are doing well and that it clears away soon.

  6. Rahburt says:

    your blog has evolved and grown so much in the past few months! 🙂

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