When Did The Haze In Singapore Start?
Air pollution reached alarming levels on 17 September 2019, and foggy conditions were observed for the second consecutive day in Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia. Air quality in Southeast Asia has reached dangerous levels in recent days, with haze in many parts of the air due to smoke from forest fires in Indonesia, according to the United Nations.
Smoke from Indonesia has reportedly billowed into the air over Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia, causing trouble for its neighbors. Sumatran fires blamed on palm oil plantation owners and farmers for cutting down trees with tractors and bulldozers.
The haze has shrouded landmarks and prompted many Singaporeans and Malaysians to wear protective masks as the biting smell of burning vegetation causes health concerns. Indonesia has sent aircraft and helicopters to fight the widespread fires that have engulfed both Singapore and Malaysia, forced the closure of hundreds of schools and declared a state of emergency in southern cities as toxic fumes from Sumatra spill into the sea.
Pollution readings are particularly high this year, but the problem has been around for several years, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This is a long-term problem that varies in intensity in the region during the dry season.
Six Indonesian provinces have declared a state of emergency after wildfires engulfed large parts of Southeast Asia in a smoky haze. It was mainly caused by forest fires caused by illegal slash-and-burn operations by the government and private companies on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, which then spread rapidly during the dry season.
Although the fires usually originate in Indonesia, the haze has moved to neighboring Malaysia and Singapore in recent years as part of a concerted effort to contain the annual headaches. Singapore’s air quality deteriorated to unhealthy levels on Tuesday as winds blew from the city – a state in southern Malaysia – to Sumatra, where millions of people have already been affected. The number of hotspots detected by weather satellites in Sumatra and Borneo has increased since its peak last year, when massive fires in Indonesia triggered a regional crisis, according to the United Nations.
In Indonesia, the disaster management agency Riau said today that 2719 hectares in Riasu province had been destroyed by forest fires as the fires that have been burning since last month continued to spread. The military used planes to produce artificial rain as the haze reached dangerous levels and forced schools on Sumatra island to close.
Indonesia produced more carbon than the entire EU economy during the 2015 haze crisis that hit the region for weeks. The fires were burning at the time, but the response to the haze crisis was to create thick smog in neighboring countries.
Winds swept biting smoke across the region, polluting Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and even Thailand, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
A repeat of this disaster will certainly exacerbate the already poor regional economic situation. It spread to other parts of the region and led to a significant deterioration in air quality.
Singapore’s PSI was 341, and it surpassed the 100 mark for the first time, reaching dangerous levels for 2015. Hundreds of schools were forced to close as the haze reached several districts and several fast food chains were closed. Schools in Hong Kong’s second-largest city, the State of Hong Kong, have also had to be closed due to air pollution.
The grubbing-up operation is believed to have been carried out by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Singapore (MNR) and the Singapore Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) in cooperation with the national environmental authority.
The bill was written to give law enforcement a relatively low threshold to prove that companies in Singapore had polluted the air. The bill makes those who cause haze criminally and civilly liable, but it does not mention the cause of haze.
Singapore authorities can rely on data from the Singapore Air Pollution Control Board (SACB) and other government agencies to give an indication of where the smoke is coming from. Singapore can then issue a fine to find out if its air pollution level has risen to unhealthy levels. In neighbouring Singapore, where smoke is engulfing the city – the state – air pollution has already reached dangerous levels.
Sir David Attenborough has issued a stark warning about climate change to business leaders gathered in Davos, telling them that what we do now will profoundly affect the next thousand years. The deteriorating situation has sparked a diplomatic row as Malaysia lodged an official complaint accusing Indonesia of not doing enough to tackle the fires. The Indonesian government refuses to publish the official death toll, even though the fire is an illegal slash-and-burn operation aimed at causing as much damage as possible to the country’s oil and gas industry.