Haze: A Danger to Health
The haze is a constant phenomenon faced by Malaysia and her neighbouringcountries. The haze is basically pollution of atmosphere, which is clogged withpollutants and other substances from forest fires.The haze is a direct effect of forest fire in Kalimantan and other parts of Indonesia due to slash and burn method of farming. The Indonesian authoritiesappear to have no power to control farmers from practising such methods. The hazeis further worsened by open burning practised by most Malaysians. Open-fieldburning of rice straw by the rice planters and open burning of dried leaves andgarbage done by the public are a few examples that done by Malaysian. Many areignorant of the health effects of open burning.During the haze, hospitals and clinic often report a dramatic increase inrespiratory problems, lung infections and asthma attack. The Air Pollution Index(API) usually indicates the hazardous and dangerous levels of pollution during thisperiod. The haze has long-term side effects. Prolonged inhalation of polluted air willresult in serious lung infection which particularly affects the elderly.The government must play its role to reduce the haze treat. It has tocooperate with the Indonesian authorities to stamp out forest fires. The culprits mustbe brought to justice, either through healthy fine or prison sentence. Constantvigilance would ensure the perpetrators do not repeat their offence.The government should also raise the public awareness of the dangers of forest fire. Continuous campaign of the cause, solutions and steps-need-to-be-takento reduce the haze need to be promoted through all types of social media liketelevision, radio, newspaper and even via internet. The authorities should alsoprovide assistance to farmers and introduce more sophisticated forest clearingmethods.
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