Monday, June 24, 2013

Celebrating the first haze-free morning in days

I have been taking countless morning walks in our parks over the years. Never once did I stop to think what would be able to stop me from this habitual activity other than rainy weather until we were so badly affected by the ridiculous forest fires originating in Indonesia over the past week. We were blanketed in thick haze that made it look like there was fog everywhere. We stayed indoors as much as possible and scrambled to buy N95 masks to avoid breathing in hazardous micro particles in the air.

My walks were made impossible overnight and I missed my daily routine where the only complaint I made was against the scorching heat and humidity at this time of the year. The Indonesian minister said that the situation we are in was the result of nature and asked us to pray for a miracle. Well, I prayed for a miracle for two days consecutively and the winds changed direction. Unfortunately, our good fortune over the weekend caused Johor to take on the bulk of the pollution from Indonesia. This morning, the haze seemed to have disappeared and the skies were clear. I wasted no time in donning my walking shoes to go and enjoy this reprieve from the haze. We never know when we will be hit again with a Pollution Standards Index (PSI) of above 100 or worse still be overcome by smog at a PSI of 300 and above.

This morning I walked with a friend, from Hortpark, across the Alexandria Arch bridge and walked along the elevated walkway to Telok Blangah Park. The air was clear and it was no different from those numerous other occasions when we did our morning walks in the parks of Singapore. This time, however, I saw everything with new eyes. Never again will I take clean air and clear views of things for granted. You do not know what you have till you experience loss. So I hope that everyone will be more environment conscious in their daily lives from now onwards.

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