2016 Malaysian haze

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Sabah forest fires, 16 March 2016

2016 Malaysian Haze

The 2016 Malaysian haze was a significant air pollution event that affected various parts of Malaysia and its neighboring countries. The haze was primarily caused by widespread forest fires in Indonesia, particularly on the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan. These fires are often attributed to the illegal practice of slash-and-burn agriculture, which is used to clear land for palm oil plantations and other agricultural activities.

Causes[edit | edit source]

The primary cause of the 2016 Malaysian haze was the extensive forest fires in Indonesia. These fires were exacerbated by the El Niño weather phenomenon, which led to drier conditions and made the region more susceptible to fires. The practice of slash-and-burn agriculture, although illegal, is still widely used due to its cost-effectiveness for clearing land.

Affected Areas[edit | edit source]

The haze affected several regions in Malaysia, including major cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Johor Bahru. The air quality in these areas deteriorated significantly, with the Air Pollution Index (API) reaching hazardous levels. Neighboring countries such as Singapore and parts of Thailand were also affected by the haze.

Health Impacts[edit | edit source]

The haze had severe health impacts on the population, particularly on vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing respiratory conditions. Common health issues reported included asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems. The Malaysian government issued health advisories and distributed face masks to mitigate the health risks associated with the haze.

Government Response[edit | edit source]

The Malaysian government took several measures to address the haze crisis. These included diplomatic efforts to engage with the Indonesian government to control the forest fires, as well as local measures such as school closures and the distribution of face masks. The government also monitored air quality levels and provided regular updates to the public.

Environmental Impact[edit | edit source]

The 2016 haze had a significant environmental impact, contributing to the loss of biodiversity and the destruction of natural habitats. The fires released large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.

Long-term Solutions[edit | edit source]

Efforts to find long-term solutions to the haze problem have included regional cooperation through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the implementation of stricter regulations on land clearing practices. There have also been calls for greater enforcement of existing laws and the promotion of sustainable agricultural practices.

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD