Friday, June 21, 2013

A crisis of Haze in Singapore

My friend George all ready for Haze weather riding, or not...

I was supposed to lead a group of cyclists to Kundur/Karimun Islands in the Riaus of Indonesia yesterday but that got smoked out literally. Singapore and the surrounding region is presently suffering from a crisis of haze and smog no thanks to intensive slash and burn cultivation clearing from Sumatra. It does not help that the seasonal monsoon winds  are directing all the smoke and pollution to our backyard.

This has happened annually for the past 20 years or so and the record psi reading in 1997 was 226. Yesterday, it hit 401 and that has got the nation choking in every sense of the word. Health experts say that anything above 110 is in the unhealthy level and 300 is hazardous! This has posed a health risk to the elderly, the very young, asthma sufferers as well as people with heart conditions.

Needless to say, all outdoor activities have grinded to a halt except for those who really need to be out there. Donning a N95 mask helps and the great demand for that has depleted stocks overnight. It is said that through crisis character is formed and I am very heartened to read about kind people who volunteer their time and resources to help those in need. SG Haze Rescue is a citizen initiative and kudos to them for their big heartedness.

Meanwhile, cycling paths are deserted and we cyclists are really getting restless. I have another trip to Singkep planned in early July and am hoping and praying that the winds will be in our favour. But I'm not holding my breath... or perhaps I should.

Here is our Singlish Minister reporting on the Haze Crisis...

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