Sunday, June 23, 2013

Treasure the Blue Sky

This is not the bluest of skies I've ever seen BUT it's blue enough for many people in Singapore.  Blue enough to take an outdoor morning walk.  Blue enough for many Facebook contacts to post photographs of the bluest skies they've seen in the past week and celebrate and appreciate what we take for granted every day - the blue skies that we don't even look at in our daily rush.

Over the past week or so, Singapore was affected by the worst bout of haze in history, with the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hitting a high of 401 on 21 Jun 2013 - hazardous level.  While such haze episodes affect Singapore every year, this was the worst, surpassing unhealthy levels in the 1997/1998 haze episode.

Image from NASA - This image shows the pollution over Indonesia and the Indian Ocean on October 22, 1997. White represents the aerosols (smoke) that remained in the vicinity of the fires. Green, yellow, and red pixels represent increasing amounts of tropospheric ozone

This current haze episode saddened me... some businesses marked up the prices of N95 masks as people scrambled to get masks to protect their families.  Some took the chance to add oil to fire, fanning popular but hostile opinions about everything and anything that they were unhappy about. If in a simple crisis like this, people can't band together to make things better for each other, what hope do we have when worse things happen?  It's crisis time, THE time to help each other and try to collectively make things better first, we can all complain and apportion blame when the crisis is over!

Luckily, there's always a silver lining... Friends shared their stash of masks. Families got together to make sure everyone was alright.  Lots of Wastapp-ing for those overseas to try to bring some masks back (apparently Singapore was not the only place that's out of N95 masks... supply was also short in Turkey with all the protests going on there).

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