What happened to London in the 1950s is now happening in Singapore and Indonesia. Burning, in this case the illegal burning of tropical forest in order to clear the land, has created, as burning always creates, smoke and the smoke has settled in a haze around Singapore and parts of Indonesia. The governments of these nations have issued health warnings, recommended that people stay indoors and do not engage in heavy outdoor activity. Singapore is blaming Indonesia for failure to control and prevent the illegal burning of forest.
We need clean air to breathe. Everyone knows that and everyone mostly ignores that. The imperative of economic growth, the making of money and the belief that because nature provides resource humans can exploit it until that resource no longer exists prevails over the simple knowledge that we need to breathe clean air. If you burn life supporting forest you create death bringing smoke.
In places in Singapore and Indonesia the air quality is 371 on the pollution standards index. The scale on the PSI ranges from perfectly clean air (0) to unhealthy (+200) through hazardous (+300). The air quality is Singapore is now worse than hazardous. PSI levels above 400 will be life-threatening to ill and elderly persons. And healthy people may experience adverse symptoms that prevent them from living their lives as normal. Older folk may remember the song, written about a different kind of smoke, but just as relevant.
Purple haze all in my eyes
Don’t know if it’s day or night
You’ve got me blowin, blowin my mind
Is it tomorrow or just the end of time?
Even if the haze clears rapidly, the particulates in the atmosphere will add to global dimming and to the Asian Brown Cloud.
Filed under: climate change Tagged: | air pollution, asian brown cloud, burning, burning of forest, climate, environment, haze, pollution standards, pollution standards index, PSI, purple haze, Singapore