How is everyone? I’ve been a little off the blog radar, it must be the haze!! I’m playing, sort of. But really, if you’ve been following me on Instagram you’ll know I was just in New York. I was there for a way too short of a trip considering the flying time it takes to get there, but nevertheless it was great to see my family and finally meet my 8 month old nephew for the first time!! I’m also having issues with my internet connection at home, so trying to sort that out as well. I hope to be back on my “regular” blogging schedule of M-W-F shortly.
I’m back in Saunapore and unfortunately the haze. What is this haze I keep banging on about on Twitter? Well, I’ll show you. So as per the picture below, this is what normal skies should look like. I had some beautiful blue skies in New York, I should have just stayed there!
Before I left for New York, we were getting haze for a couple of weeks. And I thought, surely it can’t last much longer, could it? Well, it can. Apparently this biohazard haze is with us until f$*^# November. November! Are you kidding me?
Umm yeah, how pleasant does that look? Would you believe that I can barely see Marina Bay Sands at the moment? Can you imagine breathing that smoky air, day in day out? Yeah, let me tell you, it’s not pleasant AT ALL. You can smell the smoke everywhere; it seeps into your house on super bad days. Currently, we are all obsessed with checking the PSI levels, or the pollutant standards index. Basically it’s been in the very unhealthy range all the time. We should be limiting our time outside and schools have even closed down. People are rocking their gas masks, but I haven’t yet. I think it may be time; this girl needs a social life!
So, where is this haze coming from? Mainly from the fires in Indonesia, with the concentration of these fires coming from Sumatra. The winds blow it all over towards us, with Singapore being at the tip of that land mass labeled “Malaysia”.
Indonesia is one of the main exporters of palm oil and these companies are clearing the land for more palm oil plantations. Sumatra is quite close to Singapore as you can see from the map below. In fact, I could actually see it from my balcony when I used to live in Marina Bay. It was a beautiful sight, seeing the water and all the ships parked out there; Indonesia in the far distance over the horizon.
So, palm oil. Do you use palm oil? I bet you do. Thanks for making the air I breathe unbreatheable. I’m not kidding! Shame on you! But shame on me too, because I know I am also a consumer. Palm oil is used not only for cooking – did you know it’s the most widely used vegetable oil on earth? – but also used in a variety of goods. Do you use lipstick? How do you wash your hair? Do you like ice cream? What about chocolate? Yep, palm oil!
It’s easy to blame Indonesia, but the reality is, we are all to blame. We are all consumers of palm oil – intentionally or not – and the demand for it just keeps increasing as our thirst for goods grow. The Indonesians living in this area have it worse. Their land has been taken from them and they are forced to work on these plantations for minimal wages while companies like Unilever, Nestle and Cargill reap the profits. What we can do is try to get them and other companies to responsibly source their palm oil. You may not care about me and the air I’m breathing, but maybe you care about the wildlife (the orangutans, the Sumatran tigers and elephants)? They are being decimated as their habitat is cleared and burned down.
If you want more information on palm oil, here are a few good links:
In the meantime, go breathe in some delicious air for me and don’t take it for granted. 😉