Contingency plans are in place to close schools & sports complexes if necessary. People are masking up to protect themselves from the haze as these particles can increase a person’s risk of developing viral & bacterial infections, heart/lung diseases, as well as cancer & stroke.
Parts of neighbouring #Malaysia were also suffering from the smoky haze, a recurring problem the Southeast Asian governments have failed to solve despite repeated calls for action. Singapore's National Environment Agency Chief Andrew Tan met with Indonesian officials in Jakarta to discuss the situation. He called on Indonesia to take "decisive action" against companies suspected of burning forests on #Sumatra as a cheap way of clearing land. Instead of apologizing, Indonesian Minister for People's Welfare Agung Laksono had criticized Singapore's reaction to the haze, accusing the city-state of acting like a "child"! With fingers pointing at one another, Ministry official Hadi Daryanto attempted to shift some of the blame onto Malaysia & #Singapore, saying palm oil companies that had invested in Indonesia were also responsible.
Singapore officials have in the past week, called on Indonesia to do more to prevent the haze & punish companies responsible for the burning. Many of the hotspots are owned by palm oil companies or smallholder farmers who supply #palmoil to these companies & use traditional ‘slash & burn’ methods to clear their land for the next planting season. – Source: Eco Business
In order to produce palm oil, we need to make way for planting palm trees. Palm oil, an ingredient found in many everyday food & cosmetic products, is contributing to the rapid destruction of rainforests. Do you know that Palm oil is a hidden ingredient found in up to half of packaged foods across Europe, including chocolate, biscuits, margarine & crisps? It’s usually simply listed as 'vegetable oil'! - Source: http://www.orangutans-sos.org
It finally rained! From #haze to #rain, then #hailstones in Singapore! While hail storms are not common in the tropics, it’s not the first time that Singapore has seen hail, but the last was 5 years ago on March 27, 2008. The rain that had fallen over parts of Singapore was neither toxic nor acidic, said the National Environment Agency (NEA). It was also not due to cloud-seeding in Indonesia.
While it’s uncertain if haze causes hail, the intense thunder clouds were thought to have created the right conditions for hail to form. Any kind of particles, such as haze or dust, can cause condensation nuclei, which could then lead to ice formation.
Besides causing widespread health problems, the crisis is also costing the regional economy billions of dollars as a result of business & air transport disruptions!
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