A Hazy Situation ........ be clear about it
The social survey was conducted online from 23 February 2007 to 9 March 2007. It consisted of a few knowledge questions to test the population¡¯s understanding of the haze situation and opinion questions to hear the voices of the people. Overall responses were good.
Below are some important questions selected from the survey. Figures are rounded off to 2 decimal places
Question 1 (Knowledge Question)
(ii) If ¡°Yes¡±, could you provide us with some examples?
Most responses indicate that the respondents do know the cause of the haze. Below is one of the more comprehensive response.
¡°The haze situation, compared to previous years, seems very much worse, save for maybe 1997. All indications also point towards the fact that the situation will probably worsen as time goes along.¡± [*Note: There have been recent news reports that meteorologist predict a worse haze this year (2007) due to El Nino]
However, there are some who clearly pointed out the actual situation.
¡°I cannot really say that. In 2005 the haze situation didn't affect S'pore at all but during Oct last year (2006) the situation was terrible!¡± [Edited for grammar]
¡°It has been improving and deteriorating(¡)¡±
Majority are unsure of this with hopes that technology might be able to turn this situation around. Also, an equal majority feel that the haze is going to stay forever. Reasons for this include the people being unaware/uneducated about the consequences of their actions and that there is only empty talk.
Some responses are listed below:
¡°Yes, as long as the other side remains unconcerned about the consequences and repercussions of their actions, the environment will never improve.¡±
¡°Yes. Forest fires are caused by a mix of natural and human factors. Even if we reduce the human factors area, the natural factors will still stay and there will still be forest fires which will lead to haze, but less.¡±
¡°Hopefully not. We just need to help the people to enforce laws and stop these forest burnings.¡± [Edited]
¡°Not necessarily. One day, maybe the farmers will find new techniques for clearing their land. Or one day, technology will be such that fires can be put out quickly and easily.¡±
Overall Analysis of the survey (Full Analysis report)
Our main aim for this survey is to get the opinion of the public and at the same time, see how much they actually know. Through the many open-ended questions, we concluded that most of the public are aware of the haze situation and know of measures to take. Respondents were familiar the cause of the problem and what can actually be done. However, when asked about what we can do, most felt that we could not do much as an individual.
Overall, this survey has definitely improved our understanding of the public opinion and it has helped us to determine what areas the public needed more understanding in.
Interview (Full Transcript)
Interview 1: Face-to-face interview with Mr Lee
The haze situation for different countries can be different during different years ¨C Singapore
was not really affected by the haze, though Malaysia was severely affected. When wind blows
smoke haze to other regions, it is known as transboundary pollution. It is also mentioned that
Interview 2: Telephone interview with Dr Chang
Dr Chang mentioned that the environmental impacts were reduction in visibility and air quality.
He also cleared our doubts about haze contributing to global warming. It is the cause (forest
fires) that contributes to the global warming. The ones that are contributing more to the haze
are usually the richer ones. They can afford the machinery, not like the subsistence farmers.
2007¡¯s haze may not necessarily be worse as predictions are not fully accurate. Whether the
haze becomes worse or not depends on the human and nature factors. Should both do things
Interview 3: Face-to-face interview with Dr Huang
From this interview, we understand that there would be many health implications caused by the haze such as skin problems, respiratory problems, eye problems and possibly other human systems that are exposed to the haze particles. Particulate matter may indirectly cause permanent damage to undeveloped lungs. HEPA filters (air purifier) and masks can be used to filter out the pollutants at indoors and outdoors respectively, but the effectiveness of the masks will be reduced after a while when the moisture from breathing wets the mask. Doctor Huang also gave us some precautionary measures such as avoiding maximum exposure to the haze and stay indoors. Elderly and children are more advised to stay at home because they are more prone to health complications. During the haze period, Doctor Huang saw an increase of patients with respiratory problems.
Office Worker: I wasn¡¯t really affected because I was working in the air-conditioned building the whole day. Only when I stepped out for lunch did I feel some pain in my eyes.
Hawker: Very difficult to work with the haze. I kept on coughing and had to go back home to rest. Even if I stayed on, customers would be afraid that they would be eating germs with food.
Student 1: It was very difficult to study and we had to take more precautions during our physical education lessons.
Student 2: The smell affected my senses and my eyes felt quite painful. When I returned back home, I immediately turned on the air con and studied.
Office Worker 2: I had to stay in my office for most of the time as the haze made my eyes water. It also made my skin feel dry and I had to do a few facials.
Environmentally Concerned person: During this period, the air pollution is very high. And because people turn on their air conditioners, more fossil fuels are used. This will emit out a lot of carbon dioxide into the air.
Housewife: The haze was too much for me to take so I had to turn on the air con. When I received my bill, I found out that I had used twice the amount of electricity. I was quite shocked and my husband was not too happy about it too.
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A Hazy Situation ThinkQuest Team 2007