Monday, 14 September 2015

The Haze is back in Singapore with PSI in unhealthy range

Well, the haze is back and this time, it seems to last longer. Life in Singapore is good when the air is fresh. Right now, it is very miserable and people are starting to put on their masks. Everyone is talking about the PSI which is Pollutant Standards Index. You can track the air quality over Singapore in the NEA Haze website.

PSI index category
PSI index category

You can tell the air quality is bad not just by the smell but when you can see the sun with your naked eyes. The haze has blocked most of the sun rays and the sun looks liked a dull egg yolk.

Photo taken at 7.15am in Singapore
Photo taken at 7.15am in Singapore
Without the sunlight, the plants or vegetation will not grow well and will probably wither away. Without the plants and trees, there will be no photosynthesis to remove the carbon dioxide and introduce fresh oxygen for us to breathe. The high carbon dioxide level will create a green-house effect and cause the heat to be trapped and eventually the global temperature will raise and cause the ice caps to melt and sea level to rise. More land mass will be covered by sea water.

You just wish that everywhere you go has air-conditioning and fresh air. Most schools in Singapore are still not air-conditioned and it is bad for the students to study in unhealthy air situation. They will need to install air purifier in the classroom to remove the harmful particles. I hope the schools have business continuity plan in place to react to this type of emergency. Looking at the website for the Ministry of Education, they have some Haze Management Measures in place. When the PSI is greater than 300 (Hazardous), the schools will scale down lessons. All student will be spread out in enclosed indoor spaces (classrooms) to allow for better thermal comfort and ventilation. Students and staff who are unwell will be temporarily accommodated in an air-conditioned room with an air purifier, before they are taken to seek medical attention. Parents of these students will be notified.

The occasional downpours did not reduce the PSI much. The harmful particles are smaller than 2.5um and the rain will be get rid of those.

Singapore has experienced this type of emergency before a few years back and they have already stocked up enough masks for the whole population. But I was wondering the stocks can last for how long. If the haze persists for a few months, then it will be very detrimental to the health of the people as well as the economy. Firstly, the tourism will be affected. The Singapore Grand Prix will be held on 18 to 20 September at the Marina Bay Street Circuit. The haze situation may affect the turnout at this annual event and hopefully the drivers will be not affected by the air quality.

I think in most people have a common wish - we wish that the wind direction will change and divert the haze to a place or the sea where there are not people there.

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