What are we doing about the haze?

What are we doing about the haze?

13 September 2006

published by www.malaysiakini.com

by Jeya S Kanny

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — Living 14 floors up in a condominium, I have a very clear view of the Kuala Lumpur skyline. So I know when there is haze enveloping the city, often this is not noticeable at ground level. The last two months there has been haze almost everyday except when the Merdeka celebrations were around the corner. I guess cloud-seeding must have helped us breathe better then.

I wonder why there has been no mention of the haze at all in the newspapers. Are we hiding the news from tourists at the expense of the health of ordinary Malaysians, especially the school children? My seven-year-old son has been having severe bouts of cough due to the haze and he is not the only one. Some of his classmates are down with cough as well. Others who work in the cool comforts of the air-conditioned office need not worry about the breathing in the haze. They are ‘protected’ for the most part of the day.

What is Malaysia doing about the haze? The fires in Indonesia I understand are being set primarily by plantation owners, to clear forested lands and to burn away the surface peat in swamp areas. Are we going to just sit back and allow this to happen? The cost of living has gone up so much. The least we can have is clear air, which will ultimately reduce the medical cost of Malaysians. This is not too much to ask, is it?


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