Addressing the Haze: The Role of Local Traditional Cultures and Islamic Teachings

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Shahino Mah Abdullah


The most frequent transboundary haze in the world takes place in Southeast Asia. It is usually caused by land-use changes, open burning, peat combustion, wildfires, and other farming activities. Serious haze occurred in 1983, 1997, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2016, originating from large-scale forest fires in western Sumatra and southern Kalimantan, Indonesia. It caused adverse effects to locals as well as neighbouring countries, affecting their health, economy, agriculture, and biodiversity. Among the serious effects of haze are increased respiratory-related mortality due to toxic airborne particles, jet crashs and ship collisions due to restricted visibility, reduction of crop growth rate due to limited solar radiation, and extinction of endangered primates due to habitat loss. Neighbouring countries like Malaysia and Singapore sometimes have to close schools to prevent people from being exposed to air pollution, and its consequent respiratory ailments.

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