One of the most severe fires in human history are burning right now in Indonesia, creating an environmental catastrophe in a region with precious biodiversity, and putting the health of tens of millions of people at risk. Tens of thousands of hectares of forest have been alight for more than two months as a result of slash-and-burn – the cheapest and quickest way to clear land for new plantations. This year a prolonged dry season and the impact of El Niño have made the situation far worse, with one estimate that daily emissions from the fires have surpassed the average daily emissions of the entire US economy.
“The earth in Indonesia is on fire. Companies destroying forests and draining peatland have made Indonesia’s landscape into a huge carbon bomb and the drought has given it a thousand fuses,” said Busat Maitar, Indonesian Forest Project Leader for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.