Sunday, June 17, 2012

Haze, Lynas and Anwar to the rescue?

The haze is back. Yesterday the API (Air Pollution Index) in the Klang Valley was high. The situation is not any better today. The API in Shah Alam and Kelang today are 130 and 144 respectively – UNHEALTHY. But then again it is the time of the year – when all of us have the privilege of breathing in millions of particles, courtesy of the agriculture sector. Before you point fingers at Indonesia, you need to understand that during this time of the year, hotspots (fires) can be found in many countries in the region. Indonesia is no doubt the biggest culprit (by virtue of its land mass) but forest fires can also be spotted in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar.

Haze causes a lot of problems. The economic consequences, albeit not realised by many people, are huge. Haze leads to drop in agriculture yield (haze blocks the sunlight) – the effects which are often felt much later. Airports often cancel flights. Many businesses cannot operate or operate at a lower level of productivity. The poor visibility often leads to accidents.

The risk to human health is serious. Infants and young children suffer the most. The number of outpatient attendance for haze-related conditions will shoot up everytime – many for the upper respiratory tract illness. People with asthma suffer. This is because the particles associated with haze are very small, smaller than 2.5 micron in diameter, can easily bypass normal body defence metabolism and penetrate deeply into the lungs.  The rest of us, depending on our luck, will cough and sneeze and curse. Speak to any doctor friend of yours – many people suffer serious health problems due to the haze.

In terms of total impact to the health of Malaysia (and others in Southeast Asia), the haze is without doubt a major episode. Hundreds of millions people suffer the consequences. The suffering is REAL. The total impact from the potential exposure to low level radiation from Lynas is tiiiiiiiiny tiny tiny (that to only to a small number of people in Gebeng) compared to the impact from the haze. I am quite confident of putting a ratio of 1000 (impact of the haze versus the impact of Lynas). It is like chasing an ant when a tiger is lurking in your house.

Here is my question. To Brader Anwar, Lim Guan Eng, Fuziah Salleh and the boisterous gang from Pakatan who marched in Kuantan three months protesting against Lynas – why are you quiet about the haze (not forgetting some nincompoops from MCA who also joined the protests). The haze is an episode that causes REAL health problems to millions of people, in Malaysia and in the region. You who marched and spoke supposedly for the “rakyat’s health” have chosen to be silent now. Why? Can’t find an angle to lay the blame on the Federal Government? Can’t find a good reason to tie the haze to UMNO? Brader Anwar, you said, you screamed that you are concerned about the rakyat health. Why are you not doing anything about the haze? Why are you not marching in the street – protesting the haze?

And don’t f*#king tell me there is nothing you can do. There is plenty you can do. You can march and protest in front of the Indonesian embassy. You can send a delegation to meet the farmers in Cambodia and Myanmar and tell them to stop burning the forests. You can march to Putrajaya and ask Wisma Putra to tell the Indonesians off. Brader Anwar, you have many high level contacts in Indonesia, surely you can use your influence to do something – after all it is for the rakyat’s well-being. You can demand that the ASEAN Secretariat facilitates the implementation of the ASEAN Haze Action Plan effectively. There is more you can do. During the haze episode, you can ask the factories in Selangor and Penang (these are where the most factories are) to cut down their production and reduce air emission. You can talk to the agriculture sector in Selangor not to burn in the peat areas. It might not stop the haze completely but many of these actions can surely help.

Brader Anwar, the reason I am directing this post to you is because you claimed to be green two months in Kuantan at the protest against Lynas. You claimed that you were concerned about the rakyat’s health. You said the environment is important. That’s why I write to you lah. I am baffled that you and your merrymen are so gungho about impacts from Lynas. Yet when the haze which poses a 1000 times more health risks to the rakyat happens, you don’t  do anything. And don’t tell me it is too late to do anything. We all know haze occurs in June - July every year. In fact, I have already asked you to do something three months ago (read here).

Brader, forgive me if I don’t trust you and your merrymen when you protest about Lynas saying you are concerned about the rakyat. Forgive me if I think you are just a hypocrite out to win brownie points using Lynas issue as your vehicle. And the rest of the greenies who were with you in Kuantan, where are they know? Hiding in their houses, breathing through an oxygen mask? That’s of course possible given that many of your fellow protestors are relatively well-off – they live and work in air-conditioned environment and are less likely to suffer the full impacts of the haze. But how about our farmers, hawkers, traffic policemen, tukang sapu jalan, DBKL workers, etc who have to work in the open? You are not concerned about them?. They suffer a lot from the haze, you know. And the poor asthmatic kids, aren't you gonna help them?

Monyet King also says
Folks, the haze is a complex problem – involving agriculture economics, rural lifestyles, ASEAN politics, regional wind patterns, etc – hence the long time it is taking for the problem to be resolved. But there are things that the people and government can do. Many things are being done at the regional level to minimize the haze problem – but these things will take time. Rest assured that this is NOT the last time you are going to experience the haze. Unless of course, Brader Anwar can come to our rescue.

Related articles
Lynas and Anwar the environmentalist
Lynas, road accidents and ogres


mrs. D said...

my 1st time here almost everyday.really enjoy ur posts..u got very smart ways of seeing things..for a monkey..maybe thats y u d king..

Kampung Boy said...

well said, and spot on my brader!

Jules dailies said...


Anonymous said...

Don't forget that the burning of padi fields in our major rice bowls lead to the same, though this may not contribute to the present hazy situation. Talking from the farmers' economics point of view, the cost to them is just a match stick. Unless we have alternatives to offer them, brace ourselves as the suffering will continue.

Anonymous said...

A bigger question: why is the government not raising a big protest to the Indonesians? Every year we have to put up with their kretek smoke, and no objections are raised.

Kamonlaaa Wisma Putra. Kalau isu palestin israel boleh masok campur, ini pun boleh!

Are we only capable of pressuring smaller neigboring countries or countries far away & irrelevant to us?

Monyet King said...

Mrs D, thanks for the compliments. Do keep visiting

Monyet King said...

Kampung Boy
TQ..... the term "brader" sounds kinky nowadays.

Monyet King said...

Jules dailies
Minumlah ubat batuk cap kelapa laut Afrika

Monyet King said...

Anon 10:20 PM,
As I mentioned in the last para, the haze is a complex problem – involving agriculture economics, rural lifestyles, ASEAN politics, regional wind patterns. One of the biggest problem is that there are many contributors - thousands of farmers, mostly in Indonesia but also in Malaysia and other SEA countries. The problem is not going to disappear so soon.

Monyet King said...

Anon 2:59 AM
ASEAN has been trying to tackle the haze problems for many years now with only limited success. For a long time, Indonesia refused to sign the ASEAN Haze Plan of Action (not sure of the status now). There is also the ASEAN Peatland Management Strategy where ASEAN countries have agreed to work together to combat fires from peatland. There are acitons being done but it is obvious that we need to do more.

Anonymous said...

Bro, leave Anwar alone. The main people behind the Lynas protest are DAP. You should go after them.

Anonymous said...

anon 3:19

is fuziah from dap?

Anonymous said...

Great article. You are correct. Also coal fired power stations emit 100 times more radiation and pollution in Malaysia every yearthan Lyans ever will. These monkeys protesting about Lynas are really confused in the head. I think it is because rare earth is new to them, new to most people, so people fear the unknown. But air pollution, deforestation and bad management and policy is often overlooked.

I feel sorry for Lynas bcause of the ignorance of a vocal few.

semuanya OK kot said...

At the height of the haze a few days before he was sacked, AI unilaterally issued a directive that all "tall" buildings must install mist generators to reduce the haze!