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Jakarta Post

The burning issue: Fighting forest fires with technology

  • Tiur Rumondang


Jakarta   /   Mon, October 12, 2020   /  01:07 pm
The burning issue: Fighting forest fires with technology Burned down: Smoldering peatland is pictured in Kampar, Riau province, on Sept. 17, 2019. Indonesia fought forest fires causing toxic haze across Southeast Asia with aircraft, artificial rain and even prayer. (AFP/Adek Berry)

Forest fires and the resulting haze are a recurring problem in Southeast Asia but now digital technology can play a major part in both preventing and fighting them. Many living in Southeast Asia – and even those outside the region – will remember the 2015 transboundary haze crisis. The World Bank put the economic cost to Indonesia at more than US$16 billion, while researchers from Harvard and Columbia universities estimated that the smoke caused upward of 100,000 premature deaths across Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. These fires – which were lit to prepare land for agriculture and then burned out of control – were exacerbated by lower than average rainfall during the dry season, a result of the El Niño. Scientists predict that extreme El Niño and La Niña events will become more frequent in the 21st century, intensifying existing haza...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.