Tags: indonesia | haze | kills | forest | fire

Indonesia Haze Possibly Responsible for 100K Deaths: Study

Image: Indonesia Haze Possibly Responsible for 100K Deaths: Study

In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 file photo, a fireman sprays water to extinguish wildfire on a peatland field in Ogan Ilir, South Sumatra, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana, File)
 

By    |   Tuesday, 20 Sep 2016 05:49 AM

Last year's Indonesia haze may be responsible more than 100,000 deaths, according to a new study that evaluated the effects of forest fires that created the smog.

The study, a joint effort by researchers from both Harvard and Columbia, estimates that “91,600 people in Indonesia, 6,500 in Malaysia, and 2,200 in Singapore may have died prematurely because of exposure to fine particle pollution from burning forests, in particular carbon-rich peatlands,” The New York Times reported.

Rajasekhar Bala, an environmental engineering expert at the National University of Singapore who was not involve in the study, told The Associated Press that the research is preliminary and a “very challenging” task due to the many sources that have to be analyzed and the “spread of fine particulate matter” over multiple countries in a large time frame.

He added that this should be a “wake-up call” for firm action in Indonesia, where these fires are often intentionally set to clear land for farming, the AP noted.

“Air pollution, especially that caused by atmospheric fine particles, has grave implications for human health,” he said.

Joel Schwartz, an air pollution epidemiologist at Harvard who co-authored the study, agrees.

“Particles penetrate indoors, and housing in Indonesia is very well ventilated, so I don’t think there is any aversive behavior that people there could have taken that would have been effective,” Schwartz told the AP.

If the situation is not handled properly, it could have lasting effects on the overall decline in health of future generations in Indonesia, something that could also have societal and economical impacts.

“We are the doctors who care for the vulnerable groups exposed to toxic smoke,” Nursyam Ibrahim, the deputy head of the West Kalimantan chapter of the Indonesian Medial Association. “And we know how awful it is to see the disease symptoms experienced by babies and children in our care.”

Last year's Indonesian blazes are said to have been the worst since 1997 when 261,000 hectares of land were scorched, the AP noted.

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Last year's Indonesia haze may be responsible more than 100,000 deaths, according to a new study that evaluated the effects of forest fires that created the smog.
indonesia, haze, kills, forest, fire
332
2016-49-20
Tuesday, 20 Sep 2016 05:49 AM
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