Remember the haze that happened in 2014? The haze that we Singaporean has been complaining about . That was the only time the haze reached about 300 Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) . When all the school closed for a day and we students are celebrating. So do you remember who cause the haze? It the Indonesians right? What if i told you they are not one only one who cause to haze? We also contributed to the haze back then in 2014. Haze is also caused by the consumers like you and me.Below is causes , impact and ways to prevent the Haze.
The haze is mainly composed of smoke particles from huge peat and vegetation fires that occur mainly in Malaysia and Indonesia and is carried by the wind .Haze pollution causes health, economic and environmental impacts to the surrounding countries. FUN FACT, did you know the haze has plague Singapore since the 1970s?
One of the main causes is us , the consumers. Many of the products we buy every day is composed of vegetable oil which is palm oil and paper. Production of paper and palm oil are one of the causes of Large scale fires , deforestation , peat drainage and land conflict.Palm oil and paper produced in such a way is called “unsustainable” because it causes long term harm to the environment . Palm oil is a eatable oil found in most products worldwide. It can be found in the oil we use to cook,to chocolate to shampoo we use to wash our hair. We use paper everyday , for our assignment or just to doodle . In 2014, Singapore generated 1.27 million tonnes of paper and cardboard waste, equivalent to about 50,000 sheets of paper per person. Therefore , by buying this products from the local supermarket, we are actually funding the production of palm oil and paper!! and indirectly causing the Haze.
The haze post as significant threat to the citizens of a country , as there are Fine Particulate Matter also know as PM2.5 and are a lot times smaller than a strand of a hair. These PM2.5 are mainly found in the smoke of the haze. The World Health Organization has stated that short term exposure can lead to eye, nose or throat irradiation and worsting the existing lung or heart diseases . They have even classified these PM2.5 as a cause of lung cancer
Did you remember the schools closing down for a day , when the haze has become severe? Imagine if the Changi Airport Terminals closing and when the air quality is so bad , no one will want to leave their home and the local shops will not have any business. This will result Singapore in losing millions of dollars due to the loss of business and closure of the airports. No one will also want to visit Singapore due to the haze. Singapore’s economy is based on tourism so if the airports are closed , tourists are not able to enter the country and there wont be any profit to end from that, thus future development of Singapore would restrained.
Life and Wildlife in the forest
So in the forest of Sumatra, there are indigenous people and the diverse wildlife living in this forest. When these forest are burnt down , the lives of the indigenous people and wildlife are affected .They will lose their homes and their way of life, their bread and butter are trees so we are also robbing them of their main source of income. When these trees are burnt down, the water sources will be polluted thus causing these people to have no access to clean water.Moreover when these trees are burnt down, the wildlife are more prone to be found by poachers or having conflict with human kind thus we are pushing these animals to the brink of extinction. Honestly who would like a world without animals.
When we are buy paper or palm oil products , we should look and ask for Forest Stewardship Council Certified or 100% recycled pulp and paper options. For example of these paper products are:
- ”Tissue Paper”,
- Stationery eg. post-its, printing paper
- Musical instruments
When purchasing Palm oil products, Look out for these brands,
- Marks & Spencer
Unfortunately in Singapore, while sustainable paper products are already available, it is much harder for a consumer to find products that are Stewardship Council Certified as without consumer demand, finding these products are like looking for a needle in a haystack. Thus we as Singaporean should stop complaining and start to prevent the next haze from striking Singapore.