Haze Response Plan 2023
Just a few months ago, the government announced a major relaxation of COVID-19 rules. One of these measures include mask wearing. Just when we were about to heave a sigh of relief, haze seemed to be looming in the horizon. With the imminent threats of haze, it might seem that we have to start wearing masks outdoors again.
But do you know that there is so much more you can do in times of haze to alleviate the short term and long term impacts of transboundary haze? Fret not, we have got you covered! The HRP 2023 is a compilation of pertinent information that we have distilled from various credible sources relating to the ‘public health’ and ‘environmental’ aspects of SG haze. Having read this, you will be well-equipped with the knowledge surrounding the myths and realities of SG haze, and share accurate information with your loved ones!
You can navigate to ‘Public Health’ if you wish to know how you can stay healthy during haze, whereas you can head over to ‘Environment’ if you want to know how haze is interconnected with the integrity of our natural environment. Happy reading!
A few key points
Why restore peatlands?
Burning peatlands in neighbouring countries are the primary cause of haze in Singapore. So what is causing them to burn? Well, it is the unsustainable exploitation of carbon-rich peat forests by both small scale farmers and large companies. Through the ‘slash-and-burn’ technique, large parts of these peatlands can be cleared quickly to pave way for palm oil and pulpwood plantations. However, being huge carbon sinks, these peatlands tend to burn for a long time, both above-ground and underground. Underground smouldering is the phenomenon where embers continue to burn in the buried peat material. The inaccessibility to above-ground firefighters and compactness of the peat soil make it difficult for them to be extinguished, hence requiring intensive and often long periods of firefighting. Therefore, the longer the peatlands burn, the more smoke particles will be emitted into the surroundings, which will be carried by monsoon winds to Singapore.
The regions that are observed to be prone to fires are known as ‘hotspots’. These hotspots have been and should be monitored consistently for us to stay abreast of fire occurrences to implement effective fire mitigation protocols and provide prompt firefighting services. You can refer to our Hotspot monitoring page to learn more about the hotspots within the proximity of Singapore that have the potential to cause the onset of transboundary haze.
It is essential that we protect and conserve these peatlands so that they will not cascade into a haze problem for us. There are several ways that we can achieve this, summarily through the sustainable consumption of palm oil and pulpwood products, and direct involvement in peatland rehabilitation. You can explore these two aspects by heading over to our Haze Response Plan 2023. Do not hesitate to contact us should you be interested in knowing more about peatland restoration. We have established good connections with foreign NGOs like EKA (Ekonomi Kreatif Andalan) that helps make peatland restoration a successful reality. Join the race to protect these precious peatlands now and be part of the force to keep Singapore haze-free!