Singapore's record-breaking smog is so bad, birds are falling from the sky

Singapore smog
CC BY-SA 2.0 Flickr

Not the best time to go to Singapore if you have lungs...

Some places in Singapore will close to the public if the local air pollution index reaches 100, which is the threshold for "unhealthy". Anything above 200 is "very unhealthy", 300 is considered to be downright "hazardous". What's the latest peak measurement?

371, a new record for the city-state.

Now's probably a good time to remind ourselves that air pollution kills more people than AIDS and malaria combined. Check out what Pittsburgh looked like in the 1940s before air quality regulations...

The concentration of PM2.5, fine particulates that pose the greatest health risks because they can enter the bloodstream, was in a range between 232 and 291 micrograms per cubic meter, according to a 24-hour NEA reading as at 12 p.m. WHO recommends exposure to concentrations of no more than 25.

A lot of these forest fires are started by palm oil planters who illegally clear virgin forest in neighboring Indonesia, so not only do they destroy large portions of very fertile ecosystems, releasing carbon into the atmosphere, killing animals and plants and destroying habitats, but they also cause a lot of air pollution. No wonder the palm oil industry has been scrutinized this much.

Even birds are apparently falling out of the sky because of the intense smog:

There are some photos and a cool graph from Reuters here.

Update: Indonesia to Singapore: Life-threatening pollution isn't a big deal, so shut up

Via Bloomberg

See also: Think Air Quality Regulations Don't Matter? Look at Pittsburgh in the 1940s!

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