The unprecedented episode of local and transboundary haze in the recent years has overwhelmed Malaysia and its Southeast Asian neighbours. The losses both tangible and intangible, amounts to millions of dollars during each episode. In an effort to identify the root causes of haze, the ASM Local & Transboundary Haze Study looks into the following three main aspects of the issue:
- i. Air Quality & Haze Episodes
- ii. Peat Area & Water Management
- iii.Waste to Resources
i. Air Quality & Haze Episodes
Haze is not a natural event but is made up of atmospheric pollutants that are mainly the result of anthropogenic activities. This study reveals complex socio-economic, ecological, and governance issues that require multi-pronged approaches and science diplomacy at both the local and regional level.
ii. Peat Area & Water Management
Peatlands have a high degree of socio-economic importance and bio-diversity, but are highly regarded for the purpose of timber extraction and agriculture in Malaysia. Identified as one of the main sources of the miniscule particles that make up the transboundary haze, peat fires are closely linked to episodes of haze. Tropical peat deposits has a very high organic content, in many areas exceeding 90%, and if improperly drained and left dry can catch fire easily, releasing particles into the atmosphere.
iii. Waste to Resources: Energy or Materials
Waste is by nature unwanted, however there is the possibility that the perception of certain waste materials can be changed to something of value instead. If strategy such as utilising the biomass residue produced either by land clearing or on plantations to become higher value bio-products, with monetary returns to the plantations and farmers could incentivise plantations and farmers not to resort to fire as a primary way to clear the biomass residues, this would then be a positive step towards substantially reducing the severity of haze episodes in the region.
For more information, please visit http://haze.akademisains.gov.my/