While Hong Kong and Taiwan have been hit by typhoon, Malaysia is experiencing a serious haze problem due to forest burning in Indonesia. The Air Pollution Index (API) rose up to more than 500 points (over 300 is already hazardous), visibility was poor, pollution was bad and people are having health problems.
This haze problem really gave ASEAN a smack right in the face. Gone are the agreements and the pacts among the countries, as the so-called cooperation to curb the haze problem was nowhere to be seen. Has it been just all words and no work? Has it been just empty promises among countries and no real actions of prevention? The countries in our region really need to sit down and have serious discussion to solve the problem.
One thing to commend Malaysian government is the decision to reveal the API statistics to the public (finally). At least civilians know the hazards they are facing daily, instead of being kept in the dark about the statistics so as not to affect the tourism. One thing to remind, however, is that there is a need to really look at the matter of haze and try to solve it. Haze has been around for very long, even before this serious one, and yet there seems no actions taken to confront our neighbouring country. Each time it occurs, just a simple ‘sorry’ was given and no further preventive measures taken. We need to think, is there more actions that we can do, at least for the sake of our people’s health?
I wait for a better solution soon.