Thursday, June 20, 2013

Singapore So Polluted I Can't Leave the House

From the Straits Times
Air pollution has officially reached "hazardous" levels here in Singapore. The government is recommending that children and the elderly "remain indoors and keep activity levels low": everyone is supposed to avoid outdoor physical activity.

Outside our house, at around noon
This is totally NOT awesome. Not only does the air smell bad, breathing it burns my throat and nose. The sky is permanently darkened (you cannot actually see the sun, let alone blue skies or clouds), which gives the entire city a rather ominous, gloomy feeling. I keep imagining that I am being poisoned and will suddenly drop dead like those poor people in Pennsylvania (whose fate spurred the creation of the Clean Air Act).

Even more depressing is the reason behind the pollution. It has nothing to do with Singapore (whose government is quite responsible): the haze is caused by farmers (illegally) burning down the Sumatran rainforest. So not only am I being forced to live in an unhealthy environment, but it's being caused by the wanton destruction of endangered animals (pygmy elephants! orangutans!) and an irreplaceable natural environment.

Since the Indonesian government's response is to accuse Singapore of "acting like a small child" as a result of its complaints on the issue, I don't see the situation improving any time in the near future.
Gross! When can I flee?

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