1997 Southeast Asian haze

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1997 Southeast Asian haze

The 1997 Southeast Asian haze was a large-scale air pollution crisis that affected several countries in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The haze was primarily caused by widespread forest fires in Indonesia, particularly on the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan.

Causes[edit | edit source]

The primary cause of the haze was the practice of slash-and-burn agriculture, which involves clearing land by burning vegetation. This method is commonly used in Indonesia to clear land for palm oil plantations and other agricultural activities. The fires were exacerbated by the El Niño weather phenomenon, which led to unusually dry conditions in the region.

Impact[edit | edit source]

The haze had severe environmental, health, and economic impacts across Southeast Asia. The air quality in affected areas reached hazardous levels, leading to widespread health problems such as respiratory infections, asthma, and other lung diseases. Schools and businesses were temporarily closed, and transportation was disrupted due to poor visibility.

Health[edit | edit source]

The health impact of the haze was significant, with an increase in hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiovascular conditions. Vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health conditions, were particularly affected.

Environmental[edit | edit source]

The environmental impact included the destruction of vast areas of rainforest, loss of biodiversity, and the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.

Economic[edit | edit source]

The economic cost of the haze was substantial, affecting various sectors such as tourism, agriculture, and transportation. The World Bank estimated that the economic losses due to the haze were in the billions of dollars.

Response[edit | edit source]

The crisis prompted regional cooperation and international assistance. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) played a key role in coordinating efforts to address the haze. In 2002, ASEAN member states signed the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, which aimed to prevent and monitor transboundary haze pollution through cooperative measures.

Long-term Effects[edit | edit source]

The 1997 haze highlighted the need for sustainable land management practices and stricter enforcement of environmental regulations. It also raised awareness about the environmental and health impacts of deforestation and land-use change in Southeast Asia.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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