Smog from Indonesian Fires Threatens Residents, Wildlife
Indonesia’s navy says it's preparing ships to get people away from areas being affected by a devastating smog. Smog is just a heavy fog, made thicker by smoke and other pollutants.
Indonesian authorities say more than a half million people are suffering from respiratory infections, due to the smog - being caused by fires raging across the country.
Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, located in Southeast Asia, and is made up of thousands of islands.
Fires have been burning there for more than two months. Disaster management teams are setting up evacuation shelters equipped with oxygen tubes, for those having trouble breathing. Nineteen people have died this year due to illness caused by the haze.
Indonesia's fires and smog are also a major threat to animals. The island of Borneo is home to the world's largest orangutan population, an estimated 20,000 in the wild. The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation began its rescue mission back in September. But their rehabilitation centers are also being affected by the haze. The foundation says that even for rescued orangutans smoke inhalation is a serious concern.
--REPORTER PKG-AS FOLLOWS--
THE RACE IS ON TO SAVE ENDANGERED ORANGUTANS--
FROM THE BURNING FORESTS OF BORNEO.
THIS NINE-YEAR OLD MALE ORANGUTAN--
TRIES TO EVADE CAPTURE IN THE WILD.
RESCUERS HAVE TO SEDATE HIM WITH A DART
AND SCALE THE TREETOPS TO CATCH HIM--
TO GET HIM OUT OF ONE OF THE WORST-AFFECTED AREAS
IN CENTRAL KALIMANTAN.
THE TEAM ALSO TRACKS DOWN ANOTHER ORANGUTAN--
SUCCESSFULLY SEDATES IT--
THEN CATCHES IT IN A NET BEFORE IT HITS THE GROUND--
BEFORE IT'S BROUGHT BACK TO THE SAFETY OF A RESCUE CENTER.
(Herman, BOSF staff) "When we got there, the orangutan was very weak, very weak. But naturally, wild orangutans avoid humans - that's why we have to use sedatives to evacuate them."
THE APES ARE CHOKING ON THE DANGEROUS HAZE--
CAUSED BY FIRES LIT DELIBERATELY
IN AN ILLEGAL "SLASH AND BURN" PROCESS IN INDONESIA--
TO CLEAR THE LAND FOR NEW PLANTATIONS.
THE ANNUAL BURNING CHURNS OUT THICK SMOKE ACROSS PARTS OF SOUTH EAST ASIA.
THIS SUMMER'S HAZE IS THE WORST IT'S BEEN FOR NEARLY 20 YEARS:
(Denny Kurniawan, BOSF Program Manager) "The fires this year are very different than usual. The forest in this region has become very dangerous for the orangutans and their habitat. // Orangutans are very important for the life of the forests, and in particular for the lungs of the world. Orangutans naturally reforest their habitat."
THIS PRECIOUS SPECIES IS ONLY FOUND IN THE WILD
ON TWO ISLANDS IN THE WORLD-- BORNEO AND SUMATRA--
BOTH OF WHICH HAVE BEEN SHROUDED UNDER HAZE FOR TWO MONTHS.
THE GOVERNMENT SAYS IT IS PULLING OUT ALL THE STOPS TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM--
BUT AT THESE SANCTUARIES, TIME IS RUNNING OUT...
AS AN ALREADY SHRINKING POPULATION--
IS NOW EVEN MORE UNDER THREAT.
Encyclopedia Article: Encyclopedia of Environmental Studies, Smog
May Need Password
Website Article: Indonesia Country Profile
PDF: U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Smog, Who Does It Hurt?
Interactive Simulation: SmogCity2