Haze to get worse over the years

Haze to get worse over the years

 5 December 2007

published by thestar.com.my

Malaysia — Malaysians must brace themselves for a worsening haze situation in the years to come as the world climate heats up. 

The drier and hotter climate will mean more droughts for Indonesia and when peatlands there burn up, they can account for 8% of carbon emissions globally. 

According to Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency secretary Andi Eka Sakya, climatic changes mean the possibility of more drought in the future, particularly in peatland areas such as those in Sumatra and Kalimantan, and with higher temperatures. 

“We are aware of this and that is why we have put in a fire danger rating system to better forecast bushfires in the future. 

“However, we do not have enough air monitoring stations in the country which can act as an early-warning system for any disaster, such as haze. 

“We only have 37 air monitoring stations in the country, six of which are in Jakarta. All our other stations have to send their data to Jakarta to be processed, which will take two weeks,” he said on the sidelines of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) here on Wednesday. 

Andi, who is attending the meeting as an UN observer, said Malaysia had 58 stations, although it was a smaller country. 

He also said that the Indonesian government was better equipped now to isolate bushfires in peatlands, particularly after 1996/97. 

“During those years, the bushfires were very bad. Now, we have managed to reduce the number and width of the areas burning,” he said. 

The haze, which is caused by bushfires in mainly peatlands in Sumatra and Kalimantan, has become a yearly occurrence when monsoon winds blow the smoke over to Malaysia, Singapore, and the southern part of Thailand. 

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