Open burning on a large scale causes the haze. The burning can be because of natural forest fires or irresponsible men burning a vast area for cultivation. When either one of these takes place, the smoke from the fires rises and spreads to the surrounding areas. It can even travel as far as the neighbouring countries. For example, when there was extensive open burning in Indonesia, the haze spread to Malaysia and Singapore. In these countries, the situation is further aggravated by the pollution from vehicles and factories. The haze is an unwelcome visitor. Its effects, which are manifold, affect human beings, animals as well as plants.
The haze can cause health problems. People who suffer from asthma would experience breathing problems or their asthma may recur or become worse. The haze can also cause dry throats and result in flu or runny nose. Moreover, some people may come down with sore eyes (conjunctivitis). During this period of time, infants, young children and the elderly have to take precaution because their immune system is not strong enough to withstand the detrimental effects of the haze.
Besides causing ill health, the haze can cause serious injuries or lives to be lost. This is because the haze obscures vision on the road or in the air. So if a motorist is not extra cautious, he may run into other motorists. This may result in serious injuries and even death. In the air, the haze can cause a collision if pilots lose their bearing because the haze has hampered their vision. If such an incident occurs, it may result in a large number of deaths. It is not only in the air where the pilots can experience visual difficulties. Even when landing or taking off, they may not be able to get a clear view of the runaway. If they are not careful, an accident may occur.
The haze also affects the social life of people. Many people would rather stay at home and not venture outdoors when the haze is around. This is because they wish to avoid being...