South East Asia biggest problem (photo of haze in Singapore)Created by:
Over 75% of fire hotspots occur in Indonesia, partially decayed, dead vegetation which has accumulated over thousands of years and is typically saturated with water – it is impossible to set alight in its natural state. But when they are cleared and drained to make way for plantations like palm oil and pulp and paper, this carbon-rich material becomes tinder dry – and vulnerable to fires.
The Haze has an insidious affect on the health of the millions living in Sumatra and the region. Modeling attributes an average of 110,000 deaths a year (averaging in 2016) in the region to these fires, primarily associated with the long-term seasonal exposure to smoke particles. The fires also pump planet-warming carbon into the air - Indonesia's peatland conain a whopping 60 billions tonnes of carbon. Releasing all of this carbon would be catastrophic for us all.
Who to blame?
Industrial plantations are continuing to lay the foundations for next year's haze as they continue to operate under weak and poorly enforced laws, . Plantations in Indonesia feed a massive global appetite for commodities like palm oil and pulp and paper, and are a massive source of income for a country that rapidly wants to develop. From plantations to supermarket shelves around the world, businesses are trading deforestation and peatland destruction.
Protecting all forests and peatland is the best long-term solution to the Haze wave.
Laws must be changed and strengthened. Legislation must be urgently passed to protect all forests and all peat, no matter how deep it is or whether it is in existing concessions or not. The government must also take other measure and create a transparent and credible system mapping land use and ownership.
Companies must end their role in peat and forest destruction. Which means immediately stopping the bulldozing while implementing its commitment to save the forest and to have a better quality of air.