Worst Haze In Singapore
Smog covered large parts of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. Smoke mist spread as far as Thailand and Brunei. Record levels of air pollution have been observed in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The haze of 2013 was not an isolated incident, as forests and peat bogs were set on fire in clearance . Although most of the forest fires are in August and October, the annual haze returned in September 2013, with the worst in June 2013.
The recent smothering smoke that choked Singapore and parts of Malaysia was blamed for the burning of peat bogs in Indonesia, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries.
Forest and wildfires in June 2013 in Southeast Asia led to smog and haze across borders. The fires and haze that swept across the Strait of Malacca in June 2013 have reignited a decades-long debate about responsibility.
Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has apologised to Singapore and Malaysia for dangerous air pollution from smoke from wildfires raging across the country. Indonesian President Yodhoyono said that the problem needed to be addressed seriously. The amount of toxic smoke in the air in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia’s capital Jakarta reached dangerous levels in June 2013.
“Indonesia does not want this and we are trying to address the problem responsibly,” he said at a news conference on Monday night.
Malaysia declared a state of emergency on Monday after the country’s air pollution scale rose to dangerous levels on Sunday morning. Schools remained closed in many areas of Malaysia on Monday, but classes returned to normal Tuesday morning as air quality improved, Malaysia’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources said.
Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur and Malacca declared a state of emergency as the air pollution index continued to soar, Malaysia’s state news agency Bernama reported Saturday and Sunday morning.
In Singapore, air pollution surpassed the previous record set in 1997, when it hit the city – the first time in its history that the state’s air quality has exceeded that level.
Singapore last experienced such a strong smog in 1997, when the PSI reached 226 points, according to the NEA. The haze of 2015 has been shrouded in severe pollution since the beginning of the year, with the highest levels in the past two months. Pollution in Singapore has reached dangerous levels of over 300, reaching 341 in September, disrupting daily activities.
Singapore has been engulfed in smoke by Indonesian forest fires since Monday, June 17, and the air has reached dangerous levels, with the Pollution Standards Index (PSI) rising to 321, a level the city state has never seen before.
While forest fires are a recurring problem in the region, the cross-border haze this year was worse than in previous years. The haze began during the dry season and has occurred almost annually in recent years, according to the US Geological Survey.
This led to air pollution indices rising to levels in Singapore and Malaysia, and Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, declaring a state of emergency for the first time in its history.
The haze was caused by illegal agricultural fires, and the burning of land can be illegally sold at high prices and eventually used for a variety of activities, including the production of oil palms and pulp. It is one of many problems with air pollution in South-East Asia, which are linked to fires, and which occur regularly.
During the dry season, disasters occur regularly, particularly in Sumatra and Kalimantan, and the situation has deteriorated in recent years as more grubbing-up work has been carried out by timber plantation companies.
Riau, which is near Singapore, is the worst-hit province of Sumatra, while West Kalimantan is in the midst of a severe drought that is believed to have sent a haze blanket to Malaysia. Winds from the southeast and southwest blow the haze from Malaysia to Singapore.
The smoke from these fires is devastating, and the plumes of smoke can be so high that they can even be seen from space as far away as Australia and New Zealand. However, sufficient research is still needed to identify the causes of haze – related problems in the region such as air pollution and air quality.
Indonesian smoke has entered the atmosphere, creating international tensions and complicating vapour management problems. A NASA satellite photographs the haze over Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines during the Southeast Asian haze of 2013.
Other causes of the haze are emissions from vehicles and industrial boilers, but open combustion is by far the biggest polluter. Such high levels of air pollution have led to an increase in respiratory diseases in the region, such as asthma, bronchitis, asthma and lung cancer.
It is estimated that fog incidents in Southeast Asia could cause an average of 100,000 additional deaths in 2015. The haze is caused by fires raging in Southeast Asia, clearing forests and peat bogs.
To learn more about the impact of the 2013 Southeast Asian haze on the region’s health, watch the documentary Smoke and Fire, produced jointly by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (WHO).