Remember that time where haze arrived in Singapore unexpectedly and there was even a shortage of M25 mask?
In recent years Singapore is facing serious haze problems caused by neighbouring country Indonesia. During the height of the haze 2 years ago in Singapore the Pollutant Standards Index reached 401 hazardous level which can cause long term damage to Singapore population’s lung health. This led to the government shutting down schools and calling off outdoor activities. If incidents like these happen frequently, it will affect Singapore’s economy and the population’s everyday life. But have you wondered who caused it?
Most of us might be pointing fingers to the Indonesians as the problem originated from that country but we are partially wrong! It is actually us too. Here is how we are causing the haze.
Firstly, we are increasing the demand for paper and palm oil products such as tissue paper, paper plates and vegetable oil. In order to meet the demand and to gain more profit, companies internationally and locally in Indonesia are increasing the rate of deforestation for paper production and draining of peat lands for palm oil plantation. Trading the environment for profits.
Secondly, the condition for fire. The large scale deforestation creates a large area of dry trunks and exposed soil and the draining of peat lands which is a pool of decomposing tree materials such as tree branches and leaves mixed with water which is initially a deterrent of forest fire but when dried can create a good amount of fuel for the fire to burn.
Thirdly, the fire. Even though, local farmers do use traditional method of using fire to clear land for agriculture it is small scale and controlled by the farmers. However accidental fires can be light up as simply as a small unwanted lighted cigarette butt when the lands are so dry and filled with fuel for burning. Adding to all this, companies are also using large scale fire clearing to clear lands for palm oil plantation. These fire clearing often went out of control as it was too large and result in forest fire.
Lastly, the smoke. When the forest is burning, large amount of dust particles is carried upwards by the hot air and follows the wind to other regions. These dust particles are extremely harmful to our lungs if we take in large condensed amount of them. So in order to stop the haze problem, we must change the way we shop and use our paper and palm oil products.
Here are some ways we can prevent the haze.
- Use a handkerchief instead of tissue paper. The handkerchief can be washed and reused as compared to the tissue paper which can be used only one time and it is very wasteful.
- Purchase recycled paper for toilet usage. This can reduce the demand for new paper and we can help conserve our limited resources.
- Use less vegetable oil. Most of the palm oil are used for vegetable oil, we can cut down our usage of vegetable oil by using air frying ovens or adding lesser to our food. This can help reduce the demand for vegetable oil and stay healthy.
- Don’t waste paper and palm oil products. By using our paper and palm oil products conservatively we can reduce the demand for the market.
All of these suggestions can help us to solve the haze problem, let us unite and win this war against haze for our future generations.
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