Forest fires in Indonesia

Finding a clearer way out of the haze problem

As the number of hot spots surges this year amid persistent hot and dry conditions, fears of another air pollution crisis and health emergency are growing in the region

A woman covering her face as haze from forest fires blanketed Pekanbaru, Riau province, Indonesia, last Friday.
A woman covering her face as haze from forest fires blanketed Pekanbaru, Riau province, Indonesia, last Friday. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Noxious smoke smothered the region in 2015, as more than 2.6 million ha of land burned in Indonesia in an eco-disaster the country's meteorological agency head described as "a crime against humanity".

Then came a short-lived reprieve: three years of relatively clear skies.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 15, 2019, with the headline Why the haze is back and what more can be done to tackle it. Subscribe