Airborne Toxic Event

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"Airborne Toxic Event"

I read White Noise a couple of weeks ago and I think it’s pretty damn great — I recall last time this came up in a thread there were a lot of haters out there, but y’all don’t know what you’re talking about. Followed up with Mao II, which I thought was somewhat worse. At any rate, as a consequence of the above, I’m now obsessed with the phrase “airborne toxic event.” Relatedly, Belle reports“I was talking to a Singaporean friend today and she said the haze might persist until–February?!” The haze? What haze? This haze, which doesn’t really seem to have been covered in the American press, but which seems pretty interesting. The Deutsche Press Agency reports:

Singapore has suffered an estimated loss of 50 million US dollars since the onset of the haze in early September, said an economist Thursday. “Some of the various losses arising from forest fires and haze include threat to public health, rise in respiratory illness, hospitalization and treatment costs,” said Associate Professor Euston Quah, Head, Division of Economics, Nanyang Technological University.

There was apparently a major haze event back in 1997 that, likewise, had serious economic consequences. I gather from this story that the primary source of haze is fires in Indonesia, and not actually anything under Singapore’s control. Singapore’s National Environmental Agency maintains an air quality index that allows you to track the extent of haziness. As long as the PSI stays below 100, allegedly, healthy people can go about their business as usual, though it may be a problem for those suffering from respiratory ailments.

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