TALIN DEROHANESSIANS WRITES – The world is heating up fast, and according to the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS), the island city-state is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the world– at a rate of 0.25 degrees Celsius, per decade. That may seem low, but to a nation with high levels of humidity year-round, such an increase can be harmful to human health.

Singapore is experiencing the urban heat island (UHI) effect, in which trapped heat from human activities in metropolitan areas, as opposed to rural ones, contributes to warmer temperatures. In Singapore, this syndrome is notably intense due to the fast-growing population and development of high-rise flats. Since British colonial rule, Singapore has reclaimed much of its land beginning in the 1800’s mostly from surrounding waters, but its dense developments are becoming too much to handle. In addition,  air-conditioning exacerbates the Urban Heat Island effect. This is because energy created by air conditioners is emitted through heat that is highly combustible and dangerous, with all units emitting at once.

 What’s the solution? A permanent, eco-friendly one could take decades, but here are some compromise measures by which each person can do his part:  raise the desired temperature by one degree or more, thereby using less energy and releasing less heat; minimize the collective energy consumed in Singapore so as to reduce the air-con bill; and  use alternative modes of transportation to reduce carbon emissions. Such changes, seemingly small, could lead to huge lifestyle and life-saving improvements and cool off the summer of equatorial discontent.

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