Indonesia haze may have led to 100,000 premature deaths: Report
Sept.19, Jakarta: A haze caused by deliberately started forest fires in Indonesia may have caused 100,000 premature deaths last year, according to US research.
More than 90 percent were in Indonesia itself, with the rest in Malaysia and Singapore, concluded the study by Harvard and Columbia universities.
The pollution occurs each year, and is caused by the burning of forests and peat lands to clear them for crops. The smoke drifts across South East Asia. In 2015 it lasted several months.
Indonesia has repeatedly been accused of not doing enough to tackle the problem, but says it has stepped up efforts to prevent the fires being started.
The study, to be published in Environmental Research Letters, used satellite data and computer modelling of health effects to determine the statistical probability of early deaths.
It said the risk ranged from 26,300 to 174,300 deaths, with 100,300 as the average.
It looked only at the health impact on adults, despite widespread reports of infant deaths, and only at the effects of PM2.5, the fine particulate matter carried by the smog which can get into lungs.
The Oslo Times International News Network