What do Indonesians think of Mahathir Mohammad

panorama : Smog! Shortness of breath in Indonesia and Malaysia

Because of fire threats on Sumatra, the air is black within a radius of hundreds of kilometers.BY DANIEL KESTENHOLZSeniors, do without your traditional Tai Chi morning exercise! Parents, keep your toddlers in the rooms! Singapore's authorities are warning their people of the smog bell that has been hanging over the city-state since the end of July. The source of the haze is huge forest fires on Indonesia's islands of Kalimantan and Sumatra, the dangerous concentrations of smoke and suspended matter over Singapore, parts of Indonesia, and Malaysia The situation is currently threatening in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, where a state of emergency was declared on Friday. All schools remained closed after exposure to levels exceeded "dangerous" levels. Classes will be suspended as long as the exposure is not significant going back. Breathing masks are sold in record numbers, air traffic in the region is obstructed, cars drive with headlights even during the day, Kuala Lumpur's city skyline is lost in the veils of smog. Even the tops of the 88-story Petronas Towers, the tallest buildings in the world, disappear into the yellow Malaysia's Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir wants to declare a state of emergency nationwide if the haze should reach even more critical levels. According to Indonesia's Environment Minister Sarwono Kusmaatmadja, 20 million people could be affected by breathing problems and eye irritation. Indonesia started a "rainmaker" operation on September 17th. Two propeller planes dropping 800 kilograms of a salt solution that is supposed to ball rain clouds - so far unsuccessful. The region is also suffering from the spell of a Pacific weather phenomenon, the so-called "El Nino". Occurring every three to five years, El Nino causes climatic disturbances around the world. In Indonesia, eastern Australia, Central America and the Caribbean, El Nino causes drier climates with less rainfall, in contrast to which rainfall is increasing over parts of Chile, Argentina , Uruguay and Brazil. Between 1982 and 1983, El Nino was blamed for $ 8 billion in damage worldwide, ranging from crop failures to landslides. El Nino should also massively weaken the rainy season expected for October over smoggy Southeast Asia and let the smoldering fires continue to rage. El Nino has already destroyed large parts of Indonesia's coffee and rice harvests. Papua New Guinea is currently suffering its worst drought in decades. Meteorologists are today in Would be able to predict the climatic effects of El Nio, but one curiosity amazes even the scientists: The equatorial current, which drives warm water masses north, is not only responsible for floods and droughts, but also for the first Merlin, which occurs in early September The US state of Washington was fished from the otherwise icy water. With water temperatures five degrees above the cut, schools of cuttlefish, baracudas and other exotic species that are otherwise native to Mexico and Costa Rica are also haunted by the California coast. The phenomenon began in June, the first unprecedented colonies of squid The fire and slash and burn disaster, which has since become an annual ritual, are looming on the other side of the Pacific. This year alone, settlers on Sumatra and Kalimantan have left around 300,000 hectares of forest as a result of the fires, who laid them blackened. They prepare the soil for the rainy season when the new seeds are planted, but beneath the surface of Kalimantan lies a layer of peat several thousand square kilometers in size and up to three meters thick, which carries smoldering fires underground and causes it to break out in neighboring forests over villages hundreds of kilometers from the fires. Singapore has barely seen the sun since the beginning of August. Asthma, pneumonia and eye irritation have skyrocketed. People hold wet snuffers to their noses, everyday chores such as washing clothes have become A nightmare. An Indonesian newspaper quoted a 28-year-old man in Kalimantan who hadn't washed his jeans for two weeks: "It takes three days for the pants to dry. You can't hang anything outside. Everything would get dirty again in all this immediately Smoke." Despite a government ban, landowners continue to illegally clear their soils with fires with the prospect of having profitable plantations next year. A boom in palm oil is fueling the problem. Meanwhile, the smoldering fires have grown into a regional political nuisance. Foreign ministers have just announced of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Association of South East Asian Nations) ended their annual meeting in Kuala Lumpur with a tap on the shoulder. With the poison bell, however, old animosities are breaking up as to who is responsible for the air pollution. Indonesia's President Suharto, in whose capital Jakarta the sun shines undiminished, has apologized to his neighbors. But Kalimantan's burning settlers are taking the political elbow-room between Jakarta, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur hardly true. Even if their radical clearing practice destroyed around three million hectares of forest as early as 1982, the settlers will again set fire to next year, their only hope of at least temporarily escaping a life on the edge of subsistence level.

Now new: We give you 4 weeks of Tagesspiegel Plus! To home page