Hazy days are here again

While we were tucked away in TEDxNUS last Saturday, Debby Ng went cycling and returned with a raspy throat. The overall Singapore PSI reading was 56 then, with the west the hardest hit. Then on Tuesday afternoon, a thick blanket of haze descended in the west. The haze has since persisted and now we are told it is likely to stay for another three days. The Malaysians in Johor appear to have it worse, though.

“Agus Salim Lacuda, an Indonesian climatologist and meteorologist, said the haze was likely caused by the forest fires, and slash-and-burn logging in certain parts of the Sumatra Island. “

Hazy days are here again
The view of the north from Block S3, NUS Faculty of Science, 19 Oct 2010: 6.15pm. Notably, Bukit Timah is hidden
Singapore Weather Information Portal - Hotspot Count Charts
Hotpot counts peaked on 19th Oct 2010 at 350.

When I mention the 1997 Southeast Asian haze to undergraduates, they do recall the experience even though they were in primary school then – it was a dramatic experience for the sun was hidden from us in Singapore for the first time.

That trans-boundary pollution incident finally initiated a series of ASEAN ministerial meetings starting with the first in Singapore that December. This eventually led to the regional plan, the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution [link], which was entered into force on 25 November 2003.

Although a lot has happened since, obviously challenges remain to be overcome, for we are experiencing this haze during a moderate La Niña!