Will we break the haze record of 2013?

Haze is back, but how bad will it be?

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Weather patterns that brought the haze in 2013 was observed again this time.

Smoke plumes from Riau (southwest of Singapore) are brought here via winds caused by a typhoon east of Taiwan. The current haze situation may not last as long as what we suffered in 2015, but spikes in levels of haze pollution can be expected.

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Regional Haze Map 26 August 2016, from ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Center. Typhoon Lionrock can be found off the east coast of Taiwan.

 

Where is the smoke coming from?

Initial analysis from Global Forest Watch shows clusters of hotspots around oil palm plantations. These oil palm plantations are grown on peatlands, which are prone to fires during the dry season (June to October). Burning of peatlands contribute to more than 80% of the smoke that we see as haze.

This highlights the urgency to protect peatlands and stop peatland development for large scale agricultural activities.    

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Image showing the Riau province and agricultural use overlayed with hotspots, 26 August 2016. Red spots indicate potential fires. Pink areas indicate oil palm plantation areas.

What can we do to stop the haze?

As consumers of palm oil and paper products, we have the power to change the situation. Here are 5 ways to fight the haze!

Currently, People’s Movement to Stop Haze is running a project to help food outlets switch their cooking oil to sustainable, haze-free sources. Let’s also show our support to companies that made the switch!

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