What is the single most environmental issue that is plaguing the eastern half of the world? The raging fires in Indonesia and Asia. These fires are releasing more CO2 and other toxic chemicals in a few months than most countries do all year. The fires are also producing a thick smoky haze that is clouding the entire area. What is the exact cause of this problem? Scientists are quick to point out several causes, but one that is standing out is the defiant act of setting ablaze fields for the use of farmland.
The Indonesian government has taken a stand against the fire, but has done nothing to actually stop the farmers from destroying the land. The actual problem is that the farmers are burning their land to make way for their crops. The farmers not only set the fires in the first place, but also chop down trees to make land open for crops. This deforestation adds to the problem because they just let the trees lay and the wood tries and is perfect kindling for the fires. This logging for the way of plantations is one cause that is leading the way. The government has no real reason to stop the farmers because they are bringing in the money for the country. This use of fire is a cheap and often illegal way of clearing land. (http://forests.lic.wisc.edu/ric/wrr37/fires.htm) This shows the blahtent disregard for nature and the entire community. If the farmers only had the means to clear their land in a way that didnt cause such a destructive effect on the earth there wouldnt be such a problem. But these farmers are not educated to the destruction that they are inflicting. This is a problem everywhere. People are not being educated to live in a world-view society. They only think for themselves and not for what they are doing to the earth. In third world, or developing countries this is a large problem because they are barely able to get the education they do now in addition to getting extra learning that is not directly tied into finding a job and earning a living. If there were classes at the elementary level that established a sense of world-view living then people might not do many of the things that they do. Education is the first step in solving any pollution problem. Sure there are other more expensive alternatives to clearing land than just setting ablaze the grass and rain forest, but in these third world countries that cannot afford decent shelter that isnt an option. So instead of trying to find more alternatives they just use the cheapest and most destructive way of clearing the land, fire.
Not only does this fire destroy the land, but it also creates a great deal of smoke. This smoke, or haze, as it is being called has spread out over the entire area. It covers most parts of Indonesia, China and other eastern Asian countries. Not only is this haze causing visibility problems because it is so thick, but it is also causing several health-related problems. Smoke has caused breathing problems for infants, the aged and those in poor health. (http://forests.lic.wisc.edu/ric/wrr37/fires.htm) It is not exactly know how many people have died from respiratory problems associated to the haze, but it is certain there have been fatalities connected to the smoke. The smoke has also been associated with plane and boat wrecks. These wrecks have led to the closing of several airports. The visibility has diminished so much that planes are not able to take off and fly. To think that this smoke is choking people is a tragic thought. This smoke hangs low to the ground and clings to everything. Third world countries are know for having high birth rates and that means that there are many children that are living in these smoky conditions. Problems that can arise from these conditions are asthma, respiratory infections and several diseases that can result in death. The smoke is one of the contributing problems to the fires.
Another cause of the fires is El Nino. The same weather disturbance that plagues the U.S. with strange weather is also effecting the weather fronts in Indonesia. El Nino