Move over dengue fever – Singapore has a new epidemic in town: Smog. And lots of it!
Singapore has been engulfed in a thick haze this week and the prime minister is warning that the smog could last for weeks or even months. The haze, caused by illegal forest fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, has caused pollution levels to skyrocket. Pollution in the city-state peaked on Thursday at 371 on the pollution standards index, beating the previous high of 226. Anything over 300 is considered hazardous, so… 371 isn’t great.
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong asked Singaporeans to “stay indoors where possible and avoid heavy outdoor activities”. Not that they’d be able to see or smell anything outdoors anyway – Singapore’s buildings have been hidden by the polluted air and the smell of burnt wood has permeated the country. And the worst part of it all? McDonald’s has temporarily cancelled its delivery service! Yes, McDonald’s delivers in Singapore.
Who’s to blame for all the smog? Singapore is pointing the finger at Indonesia’s practice of burning forests – a common way to get land ready for planting.
“No country or corporation has the right to pollute the air at the expense of Singaporeans’ health and well-being,” Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s environment minister, said urging Indonesia to quit it with the fires.
But Indonesia isn’t having any of that! They’re placing the blame partly on Singapore and Malaysia since it’s their companies who control many of the palm oil plantations where the burning takes place.
“Singapore shouldn’t be like children, in such a tizzy,” one official said.
Yeah Singapore! Don’t be a child – get out there and inhale your pollution. After a few minutes in the smog you’ll definitely be in a tizzy – or just get dizzy.
(dedicated to Carter – a “cat expert” who is currently in Singapore dying of smog related diseases)