This article originally appeared on VICE ASIA.
If you live in Southeast Asia, chances are that the air you are breathing at the moment is less than healthy. Fire-related, large-scale pollution has caused a haze to coat Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. The Philippines and Thailand are also affected, albeit in a less intrusive way.
The haze has caused schools to close down, people to intentionally stay indoors, and others to buy surgical masks for daily use. This is all pushing people to lament the dangers of the smog across social media. Music streaming platform Spotify felt the need to prove that they are listening to these concerned citizens and on Monday, released a haze-inspired playlist aptly named “Hazed and Confused.”
All the songs on the list are “pun-y,” including Jordin Sparks’ “No Air,” Sean Kingston’s “Fire Burning,” and Future’s “Mask Off.” There are also classics like “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel and “Goodbye Blue Sky” by Pink Floyd.
Over 5,500 users have followed the playlist so far, most finding it amusing.
"Spotify made a playlist for the haze situation and just I’m losing my shit," @TrueJellygay said.
@leticiapax tweeted: "Spotify included a track titled ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ in their Haze playlist HAHAHA."
"Spotify really made us a haze playlist????? They put in NO AIR?? HELLO??? IM LITERALLY GOING INSANE JUST LOOKING AT THIS??? OMGGG," @CalamityJude said.
But the playlist is just a lighter take on a serious environmental concern. The haze is almost an annual occurrence now and is usually linked to forest fires in Indonesia. The haze from the fire spreads hundreds of kilometres across Asia and has reached hazardous levels in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
In Indonesia, the extent of the fires has destroyed the natural habitat of native orangutans, which are already endagered in parts of the country such as Borneo. In Johor, Malaysia, over 300 schools closed on Sept. 15 because of the air pollution and 636 did the same on Sept. 17.
In Singapore, the air quality reached “unhealthy levels” in August for the first time in three years, according to its National Environment Agency. On Sept. 17, the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index readings across the island showed levels at 90 and above. A reading of 50 and below is considered healthy, while levels above 101 are unhealthy.