The air that I breathe…

Everybody’s complaining about the heat and the haze. Well, I had predicted that way back on the 4th of February when Sibu was plagued by incessant downpours and floods and again in a later post on the 14th that same month that in view of the global warming all over the world and the resulting extreme weather conditions, we should expect very hot weather and some terrible haze in the months ahead.

Well, that is exactly what we are experiencing right now – high temperatures and thick haze…

Sibu haze 1

Yes, it is hazy in Sibu…and the moment you step out of the house in the morning, you can detect the smell of smoke in the air but it is nowhere near as bad as in 1997 when every day looked dark and gloomy like it was already late evening and the air was heavy with the stench of stale smoke. Yet, according to statistics from the DOE, we have the worst conditions in the whole state of Sarawak and are classified as being “UNHEALTHY”…

Sibu haze 2

These photos were taken at around 8.00 a.m. The haze would usually appear quite bad in the early morning, being mixed with the moisture from the plants in the process of transpiration. By around 10.00 a.m. when the sun would be shining in all its glory, the air would look better…and I said, better! Not good, just better! For one thing, it is kind of windy, so I do not feel hot and uncomfortable like on those stuffy and humid days…and as you can see in the photos, visibility is not too bad, even at 8.00 a.m. in the morning…

Sibu haze 3

I have read in some other blogs and also on Facebook the moans and groans of people left, right and centre about how terrible it is, how they are all falling sick, dropping like flies…and so on and so forth, but they never, for once, mention anything at all that they have done in the face of such a situation.

Yes, the authorities have threatened to fine the culprits involved in open burning…

Sibu haze 4

…though I do wish they would publish the photographs in living colour and the names of those they have nabbed in the newspapers. They always say they will do that and yet we never hear of anybody being fined…and right in our midst, in most neighbourhood, we can see every Tom, Dick or Harry burning something in the backyard. Somehow, it makes one feel that those were mere empty threats…or maybe there is some hanky-panky going on!

Anyway, what can WE do, no matter how small, to ease the situation? I was coming home from church around 9 something on Sunday (I HAD to fulfil my obligation, otherwise I would much rather stay home and wake up late!!!) and I saw the massive jam on the roads leading to town – all the way from the Pahlawan roundabout to the SHS traffic lights, for instance! What on earth was going on? Was there something grand going on in the town? Why was everybody heading there? With the Influeneza AH1N1 virus rampantly on the offensive, shouldn’t we think twice about going out to all those crowded places and just stay home – indoors, safe and sound?

All those cars stalling on the road would definitely contribute towards the presently not-very-pleasant atmospheric condition, that’s for sure…and talking about cars on the road, at the centre where I am teaching, I saw my students arriving, each in their own cars (luxury ones, no less) and I thought I would suggest that I could pick those staying near my house or along the way and send them back as well…but no, nobody – not even one of them – was interested…and I did not think it was because they were afraid I would molest or sexually-harrass them on the way! And I was not asking them to pay me either! Tsk! Tsk!

Well, if you think whatever you do is too small to make a difference, just take a look at this starfish story…

Every small and simple action, no matter how insignificant it seems, makes a difference in our lives…

FOOTNOTE:
There have been frequent blackouts probably due to overloading or perhaps sheer incompetency or inefficiency on the part of the electricity board…and there have been reports of a water shortage in the lower Rejang basin. In view of the hot weather, perhaps we should store some water…just in case, and at the same time, try to reduce our usage. Save water!