The Dangers of Haze

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"What comes around, goes around.". When people destroy Nature, let's just say that Nature has a way of getting revenge.

Haze, one of Malaysia's biggest threats to health and the environment originates from the founding member of ASEAN, Indonesia. The threat of the unhealthy white-like mist that causes emphysema that clouds the whole nation towards the end of the year stems from Indonesia's need for fertiliser and to clear the land.

Every morning from mid-August to the end of September, I wake up with a dry nose and lips only to see that that cloud of smoke is still 'hanging around' as if it 'has nothing better to do.'. Despite my discomfort, there are others who fall prey to some form of respiratory weakness. They struggle to even breathe indoors.

Respiratory problems can include (but not limited to) asthma. Asthmatic patients suffer from haze due to the very minute and fine suspended particles in the air. These particles enter the lungs and trigger the symptoms of an asthma attack. In order to prevent this, the people affected by the haze should wear N-95 masks. There is a common myth that wearing surgical masks will block the particles from entering the lungs. However, the truth is that the particles are simply too fine to be filtered out using such common masks.

Besides respiratory problems, there are also other serious problems that other people and I, a 14-year-old boy, have to face. For example, the haze affects our vision by making the surrounding appear unclear and foggy. This is especially dangerous for drivers. It is also dangerous for school children who ride their bike to school. With the heavy smoke around us and blinding us, how can we know what is in front of us? What if one misses a stop sign and crashes to their doom?

Furthermore, humans do not suffer alone from this atrocity. Animals and plants are also affected by the haze. As haze is a thick cloud of smoke, it is inevitable that sunlight gets blocked. This is supported by Dr. Mohd Norowi Hamid, who is the director of Argobiodiversity and Environment Research Centre in Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), who said that haze causes a reduced rate of photosynthesis because less sunlight reaches the plants and therefore, causing reduced yields. This can impact the Malaysian economy as crops and plants are one of the nation's biggest exported goods.

The tourism industry is also affected by the haze on a large scale. Imagine going on a vacation to a warm, sunshine-filled tropical island with fresh air. Now, imagine going to a country that is more hazy than a convention for smokers. Which one would appear more appealing to travellers? This white-like mist is causing tourists to stay away from Malaysia because of the hazards that come with this scourge as already listed in the above.

In conclusion, the haze is a serious threat to our health, well-being and economy. The cause of this phenomena should be taken seriously and culprits (if any) need to be dealt with immediately for the benefit of everyone.

Author: Alex Chin
Edited by: Genevieve Tan Shu Thung

Alex Chin, a 14-year-old trainee under the guidance of Genevieve Tan at the Sandhya Maarga Holistic Living Academy to improve his literary and writing skills, is on a quest to pursue knowledge and making his voice count. He aspires to pen his thoughts and opinions to educate and inspire others.

Copyright © 2015 Sandhya Maarga Holistic Living Resources 
Holistic Living Annex (OCTOBER 2015)

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