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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Singapore Smokes

Indonesian fires have blanketed the City State in thick smoke

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, June 21, 2013/Categories: photography, environment

I used to have an office in Singapore. Typically, the City State is a very nice place---but sadly not now. Currently, Singapore is experiencing massive environmental pollution from smoke shrouding the city caused by burning tropical forests in Sumatra.

Singapore is a world city. The small flourishing nation is located at the bottom of Malaysia with Indonesia to the west and the South China Sea to the east. It has a multi-ethnic culture offering amazing food, efficient, educated, and enterprising people, managed a future-focused and honest government. It stands out in a neighborhood more often known for official corruption, illicit human and wildlife trafficking, and underground smuggling to other parts in Asia.

Deforestation in Indonesia is some of the highest in the world with the illegal share of logging is estimated at 80%. This illegal logging and the burning of forests has made Indonesia, the world's third largest emitter of greenhouse gases following China and the USA. According to Wikipedia:

"The destruction of the forests is caused by small farmers clearing land; large multi-national pulp companies converting native forests to plantations; agricultural development due to national transmigration programs moving large populations into rainforest areas; illegal logging driven by demand from China and Japan; and the development of oil palm plantations for export products to Europe."

Indonesian Fires and Smoke, 6-19-13  (credit: NASA)

According to Singapore’s meteorological monitors: "the primary measure of pollution, the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) rose to 371psi on June 20, 2013, the highest level ever recorded. The previous record occurred in 1997, when the index hit 226. Health experts consider any level above 300 to be “hazardous” to human health with those above 200 considered “very unhealthy.”

Comments by Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong warned that the smoke pollution could “easily last for several weeks and quite possibly longer until the dry season ends in Sumatra.”

I would prefer remembering Singapore for its delicious food, talented people, and honest government rather than Indonesian fires and smoke.


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