20 June 2013

life in singapore: the yearly haze

one of the things singapore prides itself on is cleanliness. there are very, very few places where you'll find trash around here. there are a lot of rules here relating to cleanliness and pollution (ie, those laws about no chewing gum, no spitting, high price of owning a car, etc.), any newbie would think, ang O.C. nila". and you do see the results. it's very clean, seldom do you see a smoke-belching car or bus (and if you do, rest assured, it would have gotten a penalty already).

but for all it's efforts at preventing pollution, singapore always falls victim to the haze from indonesia. yes, from indonesia. every year, right around this time, singapore gets covered up in haze, a result of forest fires in sumatra. to give you a perspective, here's a map. sumatra (the green area below singapore) is one of indonesia's biggest islands, and when they clear land for the next planting season, well, singapore (and parts of malaysia) suffers the consequences. 

this year, it's really bad. as of this writing, the PSI (Pollutant Standards Index) is already 146, which is already an unhealthy level. i went to the gym earlier at the CBD and went outside for a few minutes, the air smelled of burned wood. for pinoys, remember that old practice of burning leaves in the backyard? that's what the city smelled like.

the haze of 2013
on a normal day, the singapore flyer should be clear enough for me to see from this distance

instead of me getting better from this cough, i think it's getting worse. for friends in singapore, best to stay indoors for now. 

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