Deepwater Horizon is a dramatisation of life on the eponymous oil rig and the horrendous oil spill that happened when it exploded. It was so bad that it leaked oil for three months straight, resulting in 4.9 million barrels of wasted oil. But this is the sort of disaster that only happens in America, right? Singapore’s so small, what kind of ecological nightmares could we face?

Plenty, if 2013’s PSI 400 is any indication. We might be a little red dot, but we have been plagued by so many problems that only Captain Planet can solve. So here’s how polluted our island has been. Maybe Boo Junfeng can make a movie out of it to rival Deepwater Horizon one day!

1. The Haze (every year)

Looking good in the haze. Credit: Wanderluxe

Looking good in the haze. Credit: Wanderluxe

You read that right – I capitalised the “h” in “haze”. It’s now a yearly affair that sends sinuses into overdrive and N95 masks into high production. Unfortunately, it might be nearly impossible to solve, seeing how Indonesian investigators were threatened with death just a few weeks ago. They were detained by a 100-strong mob who are strongly suspected to have been hired by an oil palm plantation company.

Maybe we should have sent a team of Merlions to investigate – Merlions with N95 masks.

2. The dry spell of 2014

Water, water, nowhere. Credit: Filthy Rich Writer

Water, water, nowhere. Credit: Filthy Rich Writer

It might have been named a “dry spell” but honestly, it felt more like a drought. It was so bad that NEA and PUB had to join forces to tell all of us to conserve water, a campaign that we hadn’t seen since the 1980s. Well, at least we learned about the Four National Taps (where we get our water) and discovered that we have some pretty impressive water reserves.

Ironically, we had ponding not too long before that.

3. Heatwave of 2016

Almost as hot as Mercury. Credit: Community World Service

Almost as hot as Mercury. Credit: Community World Service

And just this April, we had a heatwave where the temperature shot up to 36.7 degrees Celsius one day! It hasn’t been this hot since 1996. For reference, the average body temperature of a human being is 37 degrees. If the weather were one degree higher, we’d all be literally having fevers!

Luckily it abated, and now we’re entering the monsoon season.

4. Corpse in the water tank in 2011

Water tanks. Credit: The Straits Times

Water tanks. Credit: The Straits Times

Just to show that pollution isn’t always necessarily confined to the weather, we had a case of some foul play (in more ways than one) when a murder victim was dumped into the water tank and left to decompose. Residents of Block 686B, Woodlands Street 73 found themselves drinking the very same water where the corpse was in, which resulted in strange white bubbles if you looked carefully.

The silver lining was that the polluted water wasn’t fatal – at worst, you’d get food poisoning symptoms. But still.

5. Oil spill in the Straits of Singapore in 1997

The Orapin Global. Credit: Colin de la Rue

The Orapin Global. Credit: Colin de la Rue

We’ve also had oil spills before, but one of the worst had to have been the Orapin Global and Evoikos accident in 1997. While previous oil spills resulted in 1,000 to 3,000 tonnes of oil spilt, this accident loosed 28,463 tonnes of oil onto our shores. Even the combined forces of the SAF and SCDF weren’t enough to clean it up – we had to ask Japan for aid in containing this disaster. Our western waters were “a sea of black coffee” and some of the oil slicks were as large as 50 metres!

Luckily, we managed to clean it all up within three weeks.

Deepwater Horizon. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Deepwater Horizon. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Unfortunately, the Deepwater Horizon spill wasn’t as easy to clean up! It’s been dramatised on screen before, but nothing on the scale of Deepwater Horizon. This parable of corporate greed resulted in 11 deaths, 17 injuries and billions (you read that right) of dollars of damage.

And as a bonus, you get to see Mark Wahlberg evacuating the crew off Deepwater Horizon in this environmental action flick!

Credits: Wanderluxe, Filthy Rich Writer, Community World ServiceThe Straits Times, Colin de la Rue, Golden Village Cinemas