Singaporeans band together to fight haze

EXPECT air quality today to be similar to yesterday's.

The National Environment Agency said yesterday at 6pm that the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) for the next 24 hours is expected to be in the high end of the moderate range (51 to 100) and the low end of the unhealthy range (101 to 200).

It may enter the mid-section of the unhealthy range if denser haze is blown in.

But even amid the hazy weather and grey skies that have plagued Singapore over the past few weeks, there have been bright spots to chase the gloom away.

Examples of Singaporeans looking out for each other and performing acts of kindness can be found on social media, while different initiatives have emerged to help combat the haze.


For instance, Facebook user Josiah Ng was touched to receive a message from his driver after booking a cab on Sept 24, which read: "Hello Mr Ng, I am your taxi booking. The haze is very bad. You stay indoor (sic) first. I will SMS you again when I am here, so you don't need to wait in the haze. Will not start meter first."

Mr Ng said that the driver had been sending the same message to his other customers.

While there were reports of people cashing in by reselling N95 masks at a higher price during the last haze crisis in 2013, one hardware shop is doing the opposite.

Home - located on the ground floor of Block 442, Clementi Avenue 3 - was spotted bearing a sign in English and Chinese that read: "Free mask for children and senior citizens."


The people behind local kindness movement Stand Up For Singapore last month kickstarted a fund-raising campaign called I Will Be Your Shelter to buy air purifiers and filters for the elderly and needy in the North Bridge Road area.

So far, it has raised about $6,000 through crowdfunding site Indiegogo and donations. It distributed 40 air filters and 10 purifiers to the residents on Sept 19.

For Cai Yinzhou, the health of Singapore's homeless and migrant workers was foremost on his mind when he embarked on his 3,000 Masks, 1 Singapore project to help his target demographic.

Meanwhile, sisters Cheryl and Charlene Lie launched their mask-collection drive, Let's Help Kalimantan, which aims to help Indonesians cope with severe haze conditions that have reportedly hit PSI levels of nearly 2,000. In Indonesia, a PSI reading above 350 is considered hazardous.


Several volunteer groups have also sprung up, such as the Haze Elimination Action Team (Heat) and People's Movement To Stop Haze, which aim to raise public awareness of the companies that are responsible for causing the forest fires.

Besides publishing tips on Facebook to help Singaporeans guard against hazy conditions, Heat intends to sue the companies.

The People's Movement To Stop Haze has been particularly vocal on advocating the use of products made from sustainable sources. Its campaign, We Breathe What We Buy, is trying to collect 50,000 pledges from Singaporeans to show that there is a demand for sustainable products.

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