A Hazy Day to begin a lazy day
I was awakened first by the abrupt ringing of my alarm clock, then awakened and 'freshened' by the purity of the atmosphere outside my window. Taking a deep breath to inhale the morning breeze was the worst thing that one would ever imagine as I was bombarded by the waft of smoke and ashes. The bright sun which I was used to greeting daily seemed to have been wiped out of existence. The once mighty star now concealed and hidden beneath the thick layer of haze. Singapore once again was under the mercy of mother nature. With the reading of the PSI (Polluted Standards Index) rising rapidly to a preposterous level of 300+, it is now declared that it has fallen within a hazardous range. Sorry kids and outdoor lovers, guess you will just have to wait til tomorrow (if the haze clears by then) to go out and play. It is advisable that all residents and the public are to remain indoors, with their windows shut and air conditioner switched on due to their health issues as urged on by the health minister.
Well the main question that we all would love to know is where is this haze coming from and what exactly is haze and what it comprises of. It seems that our neighbouring country Indonesia has farmers practice shifting agriculture, a method which involves removing large tracts of forest lands for cultivation by burning forests in Sumatra. This then results in large volumes of smoke being emitted and produced. Haze as one would define is "an air-borne mixture of pollutants that includes soot particles, carbon dioxides and other toxic gases." The PSI as mentioned before was developed by the United States Protection Agency to help monitor and measure the daily levels of pollution so as to assist the public in taking the necessity precautions.
Haze could have adverse effects on health, posing numerous health issues that must be taking in to grieve concern. Haze particles ranging from 2.5-10 micrometres in size can penetrate into our lungs, causing breathing difficulty, aggravated asthma, increased respiratory symptoms and others. In addition to the numerous health issues associated with the haze, it can also impact heavily on tourism, environment, transport (Visibility issues) and closures of airports all which subsequently led to economic losses.
However there are some practices and methods put in place that could assist in reducing the PSI levels, some which were to prevent forest fires in the first place through better management policies and enforcement, thus enhancing the firefighting capacity.
Ladies and gentlemen, I strongly urge you all to adhere to the safety protocols implemented should there be an increase in the PSI level again, Stay safety hydrate yourself regularly and just hope that the haze disperses in due time, fingers crossed!