Indonesia is being set on fire. Fires that sweep through the natural rain forest happen every year. However, this year has resulted in the largest outbreak Indonesia has ever seen. So why isn’t anyone talking about it?
Fires are typically started by rural farmers in Borneo and Sumatra to clear land during the unprosperous dry season in Indonesia. These fires present a current threat to the citizens in Indonesia, local businesses and the environment.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “The fires, mainly on Kalimantan and Sumatra islands, have killed at least 10 people and more than 500,000 there have suffered respiratory infections.” Many drive through Jakarta, unfazed by the haze that is sweeping through the country. However, according to WSJ, this outbreak is the biggest since 1997 and it has affected 3 million hectares of land and polluted air.
“The economic cost of the fires will likely run into billions of dollars”, according to the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research. The current owners of palm oil (Cargill) are preparing to take a substantial hit on profit. Cash crops are struggling to survive in Indonesia due to lack of sunlight and drought.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Indonesia’s rubber association told Antara state-news agency on Sunday that the haze would cut output by up to 300,000 metric tons from September through February, a decline of more than 20%.”
The El Nino, a quarterly disruption of climatic changes, will also influence businesses in South East Asia. These businesses include, rubber, pulp and paper, natural gas and BP Oil.
Another cause for concern in Indonesia is the remaining wildlife endangered by dry season fires. Borneo is home to many endangered species like the Orangoutangs, Elephants and several rare species of insects and birds.
Though heavy rains recently poured across Indonesia several days ago, the dry season fires are expected to last until the end of December. Without extinguishing these flames; citizens, their companies and prosperous wildlife are increasingly threatened.