Sunday, June 30, 2013

sm Vs the Haze

I'm glad to say that my body held up pretty well against the haze this time around. I guess thanks to careful minimal exposure and lots of water and fish oil supplements too. The worst symptoms so far were allergies which made me sneeze and start a runny nose with a little itchy eyes. But no asthma or emergency clinic visits. Just as a reminder of how bad the haze was this year:

Comparison of a normal day and a hazy day - the hazy day photo doesn't do justice to the actual haze situation we experienced
What I really don't get is why we have to experience the haze every year? We get annual poisoning seasons as a side effect from the burning done by our neighbours. And all this is self-inflicted, not because of a natural phenomena such as bush fire. Open burning to clear land for agriculture! At first, I blamed the farmers who were poor and probably not highly educated but when you start thinking deeper, you come to the core of the matter. Burning is the fastest and cheapest way to clear land. Who are the ones demanding lower cost in all the processes? It is the C-suits. Lower cost, higher margin, better financial performance, board and shareholders are happy, management gets rewards. And mind you, some of the ultimate benefactors are our local companies, as has been the case time and again - the blame game played between us and our neighbours.

It is a cascading effect which encourages employees and the underlings to do whatever it takes to show results, no matter if it hurts anyone else. No accountability to the various categories of stakeholders. However, in the age of corporate social responsibility, any association with such unethical practices is a sensitive issue for a company's public image and perception. Companies get the fire for what their sub-contractors are doing and get hounded by NGOs lobbying for environmental issues.

But what difference has it made? This year's haze was exceptionally bad, especially that which hit Singapore and the Southern region. The blame game is still being played and our local corporations start issuing disclaimer announcements to protect themselves. Maybe more effort should be put into thinking of a solution to better handle these fires which burn uncontrollably when it hits peat land. More of extending a helping hand than pointing a condemning finger.

It is just so typical of humans to fuss around the matter but not solve the matter!

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