Haze, who is the cause??
Taking a stroll in the Singapore Botanic Gardens this past week must have been a different experience for everyone, no longer the pristine blue skies and crystal view of the tree lines. People walking around in N95 mask, with joggers avidly missing. Yes, Singapore is experiencing its worst haze pollution in its 48 years history, reaching a record high of 401 on noon, Jun 21. By the time you read this article, who knows what the record high maybe.
And yes, we all know where the haze is originating from; farmers using the cheapest land clearing method so that they can cultivate their land and grow crops.
Have you wondered who consume those crops? Well, it’s you and me and everyone living on this planet of 6 billion people.
If you look around us, we are living in a world of over consumption and indulgence. Not sure about your children, whenever my kid reaches out to the Kleenex issue box, it’s a minimum of 2 pieces of 2 ply tissues at any one time, doesn’t matter if it is to wipe their nose or just to dry their hands. Thought the 2 ply concept was designed so that we use only one piece. The world’s carbon footprint has grown multiple folds over the past decade. I don’t have the latest numbers, but a 2001 report had GHG (GreenHouse Gas) emissions per capital for Singapore was 24.1 (tCO2e/p), Hong Kong at 29!, the US at 28.6 and Indonesia at only 1.9. I am sure today’s numbers are much higher. We are buying more cloths and stuff (the Great Singapore Sale is here again), consuming more electricity (don’t forget to charge your iPhone before you leave your home) and Singaporean are driving bigger cars (so say the latest car COE prices).
The poor farmers on Indonesia‘s Riau Islands are taking the blunt of the blame for the haze in Singapore and around the region. Governments are forming tasks force to tackle the problem, but candidly, we should all look within ourselves for a solution. Live a simpler life, eat only 80% full (hara hachi bu) and bike to work (no prizes for guessing who would highly suggest this). And perhaps, clear skies will return sooner…………..Till then, do wear the N95 mask should you decide to take a walk at the Botanic Gardens. Try not to over stock on those mask, otherwise some 3M factory somewhere in the world will have to work overtime, increase manufacturing capacity to meet the un-necessary demand.