If you follow my Formula One coverage you’ll remember that at the Marina Bay race last week Singapore had to resort to cloud seeded rain to reduce the level of particulates and general air pollution enough so that divers could see all the way down the straights (not to mention the breathing problems).
The acute levels of toxicity had to do with massive fires in Indonesia, how’s that working out for them?
Smoke from Indonesia fires puts Singapore’s air at ‘hazardous’ level
September 24, 2015 12:28PM ET
Air quality deteriorated to officially “hazardous” levels Thursday in Singapore – a key Southeast Asian business and transit hub – as choking smog blew in from Indonesia’s neighboring island of Sumatra, where forests and brush are being illegally burned to clear land for oil palm plantations and other farming.
The Singapore government’s three-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hit 319, its highest level so far this year, around midnight local time. The country’s National Environment Agency lists a level of 201-300 as “very unhealthy,” and above 300 as “hazardous.” Thick gray smoke shrouded the island city-state’s gleaming skyscrapers and crept into homes, even as many residents were staying indoors in attempt to escape the pollution.
For the past two decades, smoke from Indonesia has been spreading to other parts of Southeast Asia during the region’s annual mid-year dry season, when plantation owners and other farmers deliberately start brush and forest fires to clear land.
Southeast Asia’s most damaging cross-border haze came in 1997 and 1998, when the smog caused an estimated $9 billion in losses in economic activity across the region.