Ah, our tragic affair with haze.
Even though we have managed to keep the haze at bay for the past three years, it still seems like a clingy partner that absolutely refuses to leave.
If you’ve blissfully forgotten about exactly how severe the haze was back in 2015, let’s have a short recap lesson.
A Quick Flashback
Basically, the haze was so terrible that it reached its peak PSI reading of 341 — to put ‘terrible’ into perspective, it was hazardous. In fact, its sinister blanket over Singapore, as well as other countries, can be seen all the way from space.
Of course, one of the perks in all the haze was that primary and secondary school students had a short reprieve from school.
Adults were obviously not let off, though.
Once your memory of the haze has been jogged, perhaps you’ll remember being stuck at home and going out only when absolutely necessary. That won’t be a problem if you’re a couch potato, but food cannot be disputed over.
I don’t think it’s possible to not know the cause of the haze even if you’re living under a rock.
But if you truly don’t, here’s why.
The 2015 haze has reserved a name for itself since it’s so great at its job of being horrible — transboundary haze.
Basically, the haze was caused by companies from other countries, who illegally burnt down their unwanted vegetation. The haze then crossed to other countries like cancer spreading through the body — fast and unstoppable.
Since then, all members of ASEAN (namely Indonesia) has signed an agreement on preventing transboundary haze pollution. In case that’s not enough, Singapore has our very own Transboundary Haze Pollution Act as well.
Why do we say that there is a moderate risk of this type of haze to come back this year? It’s not because we secretly can look into the future and discover when companies decide to engage in the same practices.
No, it is actually because of a climate change phenomenon called El Nino (surprise, climate change is actually real).
The haze back in 2015 was as bad as it was partly because of El Nino, which causes parts of the Pacific Ocean to warm. In turn, countries like Indonesia will experience drier conditions. For Singapore, the temperature will increase (as if it’s not high enough already).
El Nino is also the reason why 2019 may be the year that marks the return of the haze.
But Then Again
The haze might not be back.
It was reported that El Nino won’t hit the world as strong this year.
And if we’re thanking El Nino, we should thank Indonesia as well — after signing the ASEAN agreement, they have been improving every step in handling fires. That goes from preventing, detecting, as well as extinguishing them.
So keep your fingers crossed, yeah?