The haze in Borneo is really getting worse. Despite efforts by the local authorities, the haze in Miri has reached an unhealthy level. I know a lot of the haze is due to forest fires in Kalimantan, most of which have been deliberately lit to clear land for oil palm and paper plantations. But here in Miri, there are also a lot of local part-time roadside farmers in Tukau, Kuala Baram area and other areas who indiscriminately start fires to clear land for growing crops. These people would disappear once the authorities are present but when the authorities are not around, they will start again. They seem to be playing a game of hide-and-seek with the authorities. These people are in my honest opinion very selfish people. They encroach on state or private land to grow crops and in the process do a lot of damage to our air quality through their open burning. Once the fires have cleared the land, you will see these people stacking their “claims” to the land by using nylon strings to mark their “territories”.
This morning when I was sending my wife to work, I noticed that the haze was really bad. In some areas visibility was badly affected. I really feel sorry for those who have respiratory problems. It must be tough for them with the unhealthy haze enveloping the whole town. The air quality is bad and the heat is often suffocating. And then there is the also the much-dreaded Influenza A or H1N1 that is spreading across the world including Malaysia. The total fatalities in Malaysia due to H1N1 has risen to 32 according to the latest report and that is starting to scare a lot of people.
According to newspaper reports, the haze will be be around for a few more weeks and that is bad news. A heavy downpour will bring much relief……so let’s all pray for it. May it rain cats and dogs soon!