Singapore is up in smoke now that neighboring Indonesian farmers are selfishly clearing the land by burning trees on Sumatra. People remain indoors while the smoky smog thickens, closing 200 schools in Malaysia, who have themselves banned open burning so things don’t get any worse.
How bad is it? The Pollutant Standards Index peaked one time before in 1997 with an index of 226. Such an index measures the hazardous materials in the air that can affect breathing. The current reading is at 371.
“This is now the worst haze that Singapore has ever faced,” said Singapore’s Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. “No country or corporation has the right to pollute the air at Singaporean’s health and wellbeing.”
Not only have schools been closed, but so have McDonalds, as individuals try to stay in doors and cover their faces when walking outside. Flight controllers have been told to take precaution with the lower visibility.
Though Malaysia’s largest city, Kuala Lumpur, was mostly unaffected by the pollution, a southern state closed 200 schools. Indonesia says they are educating their farmers with alternatives to traditional slash and burn agriculture. Certainly such traditional methods of fertilizing the soil won’t work in a more industrialized and heavily populated world.