Face mask-clad Singaporeans enduring record-breaking smog got some more bad news from their government on Thursday: The pollution may last awhile.
The choking smog that blanketed the city-state earlier this week, generated by burning clear-cutting fires in Indonesia, has gone well beyond the "hazardous" level on the Pollutant Standards Index, hitting 371 on Wednesday before coming back down to about 250. The previous record was 226, reached in 1997.
On the Indonesian island of Sumatra, a backhoe stacks freshly cut trees to be made into pulp and paper. Asia Pulp and Paper, or APP, is Indonesia's largest papermaker, and the company and its suppliers operate vast plantations of acacia trees here that have transformed the local landscape.
It's a captivating story: A global rice-growing revolution that started with a Jesuit priest in Madagascar, far from any recognized center of agricultural innovation. Every so often, it surfaces in the popular media — most recently in The Guardian, which earlier this year described farmers in one corner of India hauling in gigantic rice harvests without resorting to pesticides or genetic modification.