Haze: ‘We can see ash dust floating in the air’

The Star, 22 Jun 2013

JOHOR BARU: Malaysians working in Singapore caught in the choking smog that had sent the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) level here to an all-time high of 400 said the situation is bad.

Lawyer Shirlene Carol Ferz said her colleagues complained of chest pains and difficulty in breathing.

“Not only are we surrounded by thick haze but we can also see ash dust floating in the air,” she said.

“Initially, I noticed people were reluctant to use masks. Now, almost everyone has one,” said the 35-year-old lawyer who works at Raffles Place in the central business district.

She noticed fewer people going to work and accidents happening because it was difficult to drive in the haze.

Project coordinator Ho Yi Jian, 27, said he does not go outdoors without putting on a mask.

“I have been having problems with my throat, which is often itchy and dry,” he said.

Ho said Facebook users are providing information and advice about the haze through pages such as “SG Haze Rescue”, “Places to Get Facemasks in Singapore” and “Creative for Causes (Singapore)”.

Senior PR executive Hazel Joanne Vincent De Paul, 26, who works in the Tai Seng area, said many Singaporeans were getting into the kiasu mode and freaking out more than necessary about the haze.

A friend of hers, however, rescues stray cats because she is afraid they might die because of the haze.

De Paul said the ones to be worried about were the elderly and the children.

Businessman Malcolm Choi, 44, agrees there is a bit of panic in Singapore, saying it is better to just stay calm.

“The haze happens every year and I personally think the Singapore government’s pressure on Indonesia to address the problem only serves to cause tension between the two nations,” he said.

He added that more protection should be given to construction workers and those who work outdoors for long periods.