Protect SAF recruits from haze

As a mother of a young man now serving national service, I have been asking my son if the SAF has taken steps to protect recruits from exposure to the haze, such as by issuing them masks.

To my knowledge, there has been none, and their military training continues despite hourly alerts informing the public that the air over Singapore is unhealthy.

I learnt that despite poor visibility, officers overseeing my son's company simply told the soldiers not to run when negotiating an obstacle course.

That is not the right move.

If visibility is poor because of the haze, training should be called off. Why put our young people at risk of injury? Moreover, the air quality is unhealthy.

I would like to know what is being done to protect thousands of young men called up for military training from prolonged exposure to the currently unhealthy air quality.

They are required to engage in vigorous physical activities, without protection, in an environment detrimental to their respiratory system.

Has any government agency undertaken any study to understand the impact of prolonged exposure to unhealthy air and the haze on our sons?

What is the longer-term impact on their respiratory health from continuing physical activities outdoors under hazy conditions?

What protective measures are in place to keep out the unhealthy air from bunks where our sons are housed?

I have no doubt many mothers share my concerns.

June Hoo (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2015, with the headline 'Protect SAF recruits from haze'. Print Edition | Subscribe