Haze has been an annual man-made phenomenon in the Southeast Asia region, with forest fires in Indonesia causing haze blanket for months. To date, last year’s fire were the worst recorded since 1997.
A much recent study published in the Environment Research Letters has provided estimates as to the casualties from the last year’s haze denotes that the exposure from the pollution killed 91, 600 people in Indonesia, 6, 500 in Malaysia and 2, 200 in Singapore between year 2015 and 2016.
However agencies from all three governments had refuted the findings as “senseless”, “not reflective of the actual situation” or “mathematical irresponsible”.
In the home front, S. Jeyaindran, the Malaysian Deputy Health Director-General firmly claims there are no deaths related to the haze. He further added, study has shown haze presents ‘no grave danger to health’.
The environmental communities welcomes the studies as a wake-up call, but may be understating the impact on health of the haze considering the methodology applied. The parameters applied must be widen to full spectrum of hazardous pollutants found, not merely the statistics of deaths.
While ASEANs carries out their daily chores with much rigor, the cloud on haze is still worrisome and much is expected of the governments in the sub region to address the urgent matter to the expectant of the law. Do NOT swell politics or diplomatic in the struggle of economics equations against health.