University of Cambridge > > DAMTP Atmosphere-Ocean Dynamics > The Impact of Forest Fires on Air Quality in South-East Asia and Malaysia

The Impact of Forest Fires on Air Quality in South-East Asia and Malaysia

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Haze from peat combustions and biomass burning affects large numbers of people in the affected Southeast Asian countries. “Slash and burn” agricultural activities, deforestation and oil palm plantations on peat areas, were identified as the contributing factors to high intensity combustions. The high amount of suspended particulate matter in the haze deteriorates the air quality, causing low visibility. The dry periods caused by the El Niño – Southern Oscillation (ENSO) prolong the duration of poor air quality. The composition of particulate matter in haze samples indicates that haze is dominated by fine particles. Particulate matter collected during haze episodes was dominated by organic substances and secondary inorganic aerosols, mostly originating from biomass burning regions. Haze episodes have contributed to increasing hospital attendees for treatments related to chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, upper respiratory infections, asthma and rhinitis. Children and senior citizens are more likely to suffer the health impacts. Keywords; Biomass burning; haze episode; El Niño; particulate matter; health impact

This talk is part of the DAMTP Atmosphere-Ocean Dynamics series.

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