Haze clouds Singapore as a 3-hour PSI crosses 100 into unhealthy range
On Friday, 20 March, the three-hour Pollution Standards Index (PSI) was 65 at around 8am, and it peaked at 106 at 6pm, in the unhealthy range. The National Environmental Agency (NEA) said the haziness is likely due to an accumulation of increased particulate matter in the atmosphere under light wind conditions throughout the day. Burning activities in the Northern ASEAN region, Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra could have contributed to the increased concentration of particulate matter.
NEA advised that reducing outdoor activities and physical exertion can help limit the ill effects from haze exposure, but air quality is safe enough for people to continue with normal activities.
Although the PSI has reached the unhealthy range for only a few hours, we should still take caution when we go outdoors, especially when we are doing physical activities. If we have difficulty breathing, we should stop all physical activities immediately and go indoors or wear a face mask, especially people who have asthma, are children or the elderly.
The haziness is due to an accumulation of increased concentration of particulate matter due to burning activities. I feel that the burning activities are contributing even more air pollution to Singapore and other countries as the country itself is already being polluted such as by carbon emission from land vehicles. Some farmers still use the slash and burn technique to clear the land for traditional agriculture. Although it is the cheapest and easiest method of clearing land, it is illegal. Governments of countries with farmers who still use the slash and burn technique have been fined as an effort stop curb further air pollution. I also think that the countries which have burning activities have to be more considerate to other neighboring countries as the haze from the fire will travel to the other countries, endangering people's health. They should also spare a thought for the environment. When we burn something, there is carbon emission, which leads to more greenhouse gases causing climate change. If they really need to burn to clear their land, the government should limit the area of land that can be used for burning.