TOPOGRAPHY OF HAZE Muhammad Fadli


The haze resulted from forest fires and burning peatlands has covered the greater part of western Indonesia for months towards the end of 2015. With nearly 100,000 active fire detections all over the country, the recent disaster was the worst since 1997. The major cause was illegal land-clearing by slash and burn, mostly to make way for palm oil plantations. Indonesia, with majority of plantations located in the island of Borneo and Sumatra, is currently the largest producer of palm oil in the world.  

The disaster has directly affected the lives of more than 40 millions population within at least five countries, with more than 500,000 suffered acute respiratory infection. The emissions generated each day during the worst month last September exceeding the daily average from all U.S. economic activity, an economy twenty times larger than Indonesia. Some scientists argued it is possibly the greatest environmental disaster in the 21th century, while the others called it as a crime against humanity. 

This work highlights the disastrous effect around the city of Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan, the worst affected area in Indonesia by far. By focusing on the landscape, I hope to present how the haze transformed the city into an unlivable place. Here, the haze was so thick that the sun remained unseen for weeks. In some days, the sky turned orange and visibility was limited into less than a hundred meters. Since air toxicity level was way too high, the government advised the citizens to limit their outdoor activities.

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