It is said that Singapore has four seasons: durian, dengue, haze and monsoon. Perhaps the only perk of experiencing #SGHaze during a pandemic is the fact that we already have masks this time.
Yesterday, the National Environment Agency (NEA) posted on its Facebook page that a “hotspot with smoke plume” in Johor was responsible for the slight haze.
You may have also detected a strong burning smell, which according to The Straits Times, is due to bad ozone. High temperatures coupled with strong ultraviolet levels can cause ozone to form at ground levels. This causes the unpleasant smell. This silent but smelly situation can also be hazardous to sensitive individuals, especially if they happen to have asthma.
For now, the Pollutants Standards Index (PSI) has stayed below 100, after shooting up to 108 last weekend.
As the smoke in the sky filters out shorter wavelengths of light, red and orange wavelengths are left behind. This is why the sky looks blue on a clear day but on an especially hazy day, the sky takes on an apocalyptic hue.
Enter the professional photographers and avid instagrammers of Singapore.
Although it’s clear from the photos that the haze this year smells worse than it looks so far, we have no shortage of good photography. Finding the beauty in any given situation is an important skill but we should also remember that we are responsible for our environment.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), haze season in the Southeast Asian region began sometime around 1982. Since then, the haze has visited the region yearly, blanketing our island and our neighbours in smog.
WWF hopes that by making more people aware of sustainable farming, changes that benefit animals and people will occur. For example, should certified sustain palm oil (CSPO) products become the industry standard, big businesses will have to be accountable for their actions.
This applies whether they’re making Nutella or shampoo.
In the same vein, we should also look for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) labels when we buy paper products.
When we protect nature, we protect ourselves!