Oh I am so privileged! So privileged to breathe fresh air, so pure and clean that 50 years from now, my doctor will compare my lungs with that of a new born child. However, that isn’t the reality for certain regions of this plant and I have come to discover that with my recent move to Singapore.
When growing up in Scandinavia, no one is questioning the quality of the air. True there is smog and pollution in the air mainly from cars and from a few fossil fuel power plants. All over the air quality is considered very well on the PM10 and PM2.5 indexes.
However, that is not the case everywhere in the world and currently Singapore is one of those places. Not that Singapore choose to be a polluted environment, but because of its geographical location that allow its neighbors to contaminate the air of Singapore. Every year Indonesia is hit by forest/wild fires that are intended to clear the land and make space for plantations, mainly for producing palm oil and paper.
Naturally the firers causes smoke that is send into the air and can travel for hundreds of miles, depending on the size of the particles in the smoke. This is defines as haze, which is currently contaminating the populations of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and other neighbors. The implications over time can be serious health issues and in worst case lung cancer.
When living and experiencing this smoke season, where people are encouraged to wear N95 masks, and avoid outdoor activity. That is when you realize that fresh clean air is not a birthright and something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. A lot of people’s health is jeopardized for somebody else’s profit. A professor of Nanyang Technological University shared this article about how we as political consumers can exercise our powers to avoid haze in the future. Exercise Consumer Power to Fight the Haze
If you want to know more about the effect of haze, the Straits Times shared this explanatory article, which features a live satellite map provided by NASA, showing the fires all over South East Asia. Straits Times Haze Graphics