29 Aug '16, 3pm
Burning Across Borders: The Health Toll of Palm Oil Fires via @EcoWatch
Earlier this month, Indonesian officials sounded the alarm that "haze" from forest fires was making its way towards neighboring Malaysia and Singapore. Haze is a benign word for the toxic smog that swamps the region every year between August and October when smallholder farmers in Indonesia clear their old oil palm crops using traditional slash and burn methods. A 10M hectare palm oil plantation in Borneo. Hearing the news took me back to last year's fires, which were unlike anything the region had ever seen before and which I experienced first-hand, while living in Malaysia. In 2015, dry El Nino conditions and drained peat bogs fueled these crop fires, causing them to quickly spread. From July to November, 2.6 million hectares of forest, peat and other land on the Indonesian islands Kalimantan (Borneo) and western Sumatra burned and a thick, toxic haze engulfed Indonesia,...