Let’s Stop The Haze Once And For All

by Patrick Liew on August 30, 2016

The annual haze has caused undue damages to quality of life, health of humans and animals, businesses, economies, and environments in Indonesia and countries around the region.

It’s about time key stakeholders in the public, private, people and political sectors in these countries take stronger measures to stop the haze.

We need a targeted, persistent and ever-improving approach to identify, address and remove root causes of the haze and press on taking more actions even after the haze.

It requires multi-targeted, multifaceted and multi-prong pressures at every stage of the value chain, from preventing slash-and-burn agricultural practices to stopping demand of crops from such practices.

For example, we should continue to appeal to and work with the Indonesian government to be transparent about mapping ownership of lands in the targeted areas.

Without such information, it’s hard to educate and help appropriate farmers. It’s an uphill climb to take recalcitrants to task and if need be, name and shame them in public.

Additional actions include intensifying the sharing of information on malpractices, monitoring of air quality, development of alternatives to slash-and-burn agricultural practices, preservation, management and restoration of peatlands, and improvement of firefighting techniques.

We should also continue to help incentivise farmers to adopt the right techniques, provide farmers greater opportunities for producing sustainable products to improve their incomes and livelihoods, run targeted public awareness campaigns, and promote sustainability reporting.

It’s also important to ensure that financial institutions adhere to stringent corporate governance, social and environmental standards and are not financing proliferation of haze and deforestation problems.

As a final resort and after a reasonable period of cooperating with and appealing to our neighbouring country, we should seriously consider raising the haze problem to an international tribunal and seek to address the gross injustice it has done to our people.

We should take these actions before the haze deteriorates further and potentially cause loss of lives and other permanent destructions.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

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