World Press Photo 2022

Southeast Asia and Oceania: Long-term Projects

 Indonesia has seen exceptionally large wildfires in recent years. Haze created by fire can affect human health, especially as it carries fine particulate matter, which can penetrate deep into the lungs. Dry conditions make it easier for fires to be set to clear land for agriculture, but also more likely that they spread out of control. Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of palm oil and industrial-scale land clearance has increased the risk of wildfires immensely. The country has lost around a quarter of its forest area since the beginning of data collection in 1990. 


A firefighter shouting to a colleague for water to extinguish a peat fire in Arisan Jaya, South Sumatra, Indonesia, on July 31, 2021. Burning peatlands are difficult to extinguish, and in the dry season, water is difficult to obtain. Title: Haze © Abriansyah Liberto
A police officer wearing a gas mask as protection against smoke from a peatland fire in Ogan Komering Ilir, South Sumatra, Indonesia, on Sept 11, 2015. Title: Haze © Abriansyah Liberto
Indonesian President Joko Widodo (centre) accompanied by national police chief, General Badarudin Haiti (left), and Indonesian national military commander, General Gatot Nurmantyo (right), inspecting the devastation caused by a fire in Ogan Komering Ilir, South Sumatra, on Sept 6, 2015. During this visit, the president took action to punish companies that intentionally burn peatlands to plant oil palms. Title: Haze © Abriansyah Liberto

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