100,000 may have died but there is still no justice over Indonesian air pollution

GR: No family should have to endure such heartbreak because some company is pursuing profits at all costs. The tragedy extends even farther than reported here. People can breath through a rag and clean their food. Wild animals can do neither. Moreover, the smoke is from burning wildlife habitat. It’s no surprise that the World Wildlife Fund reports global loss of 60% of all the Earth’s animals since 1970. The total loss is expected to reach 67% by 2020.

“It started with a mild cough. Muhanum Anggriawati was just 12 years old when the cough began, transforming within weeks into a violent hacking that brought up a yellowish-black liquid.

“At the end of last year, her father told an Indonesian court how she had been taken into hospital, and treated with oxygen therapy, then with a defibrillator. Nothing, however, had worked. After a week on a breathing machine, she died in the hospital, her lungs still full of the foul mucus.

“Anggriawati is believed to have been one of many victims of the haze, or air pollution, that regularly spreads across Indonesia because of the huge deforestation fires linked to palm oil and other agribusiness.

“The Global Fire Emissions Database reports that in 2015, fires in Indonesia generated about 600m tonnes of greenhouse gases, which is roughly equivalent to Germany’s entire annual output.

“The smoke contains dangerous chemicals such as carbon monoxide, ammonia and cyanide. A study by Harvard and Columbia universities revealed that the haze may have caused the premature deaths of more than 100,000 people in south-east Asia in 2015. The authors estimated that there were 91,000 deaths in Indonesia; 6,500 in Malaysia and 2,200 in Singapore.” –Elodie Aba and Bobbie Sta. Maria (More: 100,000 may have died but there is still no justice over Indonesian air pollution | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian.)

Infographic: Palm Oil and Tropical Deforestation

Palm oil is driving deforestation—with serious consequences for both climate and biodiversity.

We need tropical forests

“Tropical forests play a crucial role in stabilizing the earth’s climate, storing vastly more carbon dioxide (CO2) than forests in the world’s temperate regions. A 2011 study estimated total carbon stored by the earth’s tropical forests at 271 billion tons—that’s about 7 times the total carbon emissions from fossil fuel use in the year 2008.

“In addition, tropical forests play host to millions of species, comprising about two-thirds of the earth’s terrestrial biodiversity.

“But tropical forests are being cut down for palm oil…

“Palm oil acreage worldwide increased from 15 million acres in 1990 to 40 million acres in 2011. Much of this new palm oil acreage is coming at the expense of tropical forests.”  From: www.ucsusa.org

GR:  If we reduce demand for palm oil and insist that it comes from “sustainable” sources, we can eliminate further deforestation for palm oil plantations.  However, the growing human population will continue to need palm oil and oil from other vegetable sources for food.  Without a check on human population, only remnants of our tropical forests will survive into the 22nd century. Wildlife and wild plants of the forests will be replaced by some form of agriculture. For more on this critical subject, go to:  https://garryrogers.com/2015/11/03/population-resources/ and https://garryrogers.com/2015/10/19/population-2.