Saturday, October 14, 2006

Haze situation in Singapore

I looked out of the window in the afternoon and just got irritated. The haze was so bad that it made the view outside look like it was winter wonderland. The cause of the haze, based on what I understand, is that the plantation firms in Indonesia intentionally set fire to clear the fields. The traditional practice called “Slash and burn” (One of the few things from school that I still remember ). The first thought that I had was….how can people be so stupid, inconsiderate and myopic to do such a thing. Each year this happens, each year the neighbouring countries around Indonesia complains, each year the Indonesian government apologizes and promises to take up measure to prevent this in the future. Obviously, these measure are NOT working because this haze is the worst in 10 years. The current PSI reading is 99. (PSI = Pollutant Standard Index). Right now we are in borders of moderate to unhealthy air quality. At 99, the air quality may cause problems for some of the general population especially those with air respiratory problems such as bronchitis or asthma. If it crosses over to 100, this is the “Unhealthy” region where even the healthy people may experience eye irritation, sneezing or cough.
For more information, please refer to the following link: National Environment Agency
I had a friend just return from Malaysia and according to her, she mentioned that the Malaysia papers actually reported that their government wanted to curb the reporting on the haze but in the end, the government effort’s was reported in the papers as well. (I’m trying to get the newspaper article on this to verify what she said). I laughed when I heard about this because if it is true, KUDOs to the Malaysia press for freedom of speech and standing up to what is right and fair. As for the people who tried to curb this reporting, my personal view is: “ Are you freaking kidding me?? Do you think that the Malaysians are blind or stupid or something? Do you think that they don’t have eyes to look out of the window and realize that there is something different about the air that they breathe in?” We should be educating people and not restricting information!!!
Therefore, I think that the constructive solution to this method is not only to complain about the situation but also to contribute towards helping our neighbour understand the consequences not only short term but long term as well. Of course, yes, short term we are suffering for their behavior but long term wise, we are all living in on planet earth and need to be responsible for the hole in the ozone layer. So if there is something that I can do, I will surely sign up for it and I hope that my fellow Singaporeans will join me as well. As for the people up there, making the decisions for the countries, please make the correct decisions and if the common people can only see the short term benefits because they are looking out for their self interest. You, the elected leaders to lead your country, please make the right decisions and lead us in the correct direction.

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