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Southeast Asia’s Haze Crisis isn’t over yet

Crosswise Malaysia, skies are dark and the air smells forcefully of woodsmoke – a sign that the nation’s yearly haze issue has come back furiously.

The smog poses a health hazard to the region, while it also has negative consequences for business and tourism.

The government of Malaysia has blamed and offered its help to neighbouring Indonesia, which is thinking about crazy forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan. Jakarta has rejected full obligation for the smoggy air choking the area, despite the Asian Specialized Meteorological Centre keeping up that the wellspring of the cloudiness was doubtlessly Indonesia.

Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Ministry yesterday said satellite symbolism had gotten on “a critical increment in the quantity of hotspots in some Asian regions. Not just in Indonesia, yet in addition happening chiefly in Peninsular Malaysia and some of Vietnam”.

Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar authoritatively denied Malaysia’s allegation by means of a démarche she said was in route to her partner, Malaysia’s Yeo Bee Yin. Yeo has repeated Malaysia’s idea to help Indonesia in quenching the woods fires, taking note of the effect of persevering transboundary haze on the Malaysian open after a gathering with the Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

Air quality in neighboring Singapore stays at moderate levels because of ideal breeze conditions, yet is still more awful than a week ago.

The last significant episode of exhaust cloud, in October 2015, immersed Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia for over a month and was one of the most pessimistic scenarios of fog on record. It made flights be grounded and schools to be closed, while a huge number of individuals looked for restorative treatment for respiratory issues. Prior to that, the past significant episode of haze was in 2013.

Meanwhile, Malaysian business owners, activists and citizens fret over the economic consequences and health impacts of the haze, an annual occurrence the nation has tolerated for years. Among those hit hard are the country’s fleet of motorcycle delivery riders, gig-economy workers attached to delivery-service companies such as FoodPanda and Grab, raising questions about the need for a risk allowance as air quality levels continue to deteriorate.

“It’s difficult,” says rider Mohd Hafiz Md Aya, who is attached to a grocery delivery service. “We have to drink lots of water to stay hydrated, and wear a mask. You feel like you have a cold whenever you’re outside.”
In response to the haze, Grab Malaysia, Malaysia’s largest food-delivery and ride-hailing service, issued advisories to their riders and provided face masks and water at designated pit stops.
“In regards to hazard pay, at the moment we have nothing in place but the team is monitoring the situation with our delivery partners,” said a company spokesman.

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