How unhealthy is the haze from Indonesia’s annual peat fires?

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Banner image: Schoolboys in Kuala Lumpur wear facemasks during a haze event in 2012. Smoke from annual peatland fires in Indonesia often blankets neighboring countries, too, with Singapore and Malaysia among the most affected. Photo by Firdaus Latif/Wikimedia Commons Indonesia’s vast peat swamp zones have been widely drained and dried for agriculture, rendering them highly flammable, and they often burn on a massive scale, blanketing the country and its neighbors in smoke.A recent survey on perceptions of the fires showed that while different groups have varying levels of concern about forest loss or carbon emissions, everyone agrees that protecting public health is a top priority.However, the first step to solving a problem is to agree on how critical the issue is. Susilo sat attached to an oxygen tank instead of tending his vegetables. The 62-year-old farmer, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, had a long history of respiratory trouble, but during the 2015 fire and haze crisis things got worse. As the landscape smoldered around his village in western Borneo, his attacks came so frequently that he could hardly work. This was his 37th visit to a local clinic for the life-saving treatment of a simple nebulizer.Indonesia’s vast peat swamp zones have been widely drained and dried for agriculture, rendering them highly flammable, and they often burn on a massive scale, blanketing the country and its neighbors in smoke. A recent survey on perceptions of the fires showed that while different groups – from small farmers to industrial agriculturists to people at all scales of government – have varying levels of concern about forest loss or carbon emissions, everyone agrees that protecting public health is a top priority. However, the first step to solving a problem is to agree on how critical the issue is.Art by Prabha Mallya for Mongabay.A peatland planted with oil palm burns on Indonesia’s main western island of Sumatra in 2015. Layers of peat, a decomposing, organic material, can stretch deep below the surface, and fires often spread underground. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.Two independent studies have estimated that the 2015 Southeast Asian haze crisis caused somewhere between 11,880 and 100,300 premature deaths. However, because these estimates were based on remote sensing and models – and not “hard data” – they were roundly rejected by the governments of Indonesia and Malaysia. There, officials maintain, only 24 Indonesian and zero Malaysian deaths can directly be attributed to the 2015 haze. The rest of the health issues, they have claimed, were just temporary respiratory irritations that cleared up when the haze lifted.Nailing down how severely the fires affect health has been notoriously difficult. Accurate numbers for hospital admissions and mortality are not freely available, or in many cases are nonexistent. In addition, academic research has tended to focus on environmental conservation and carbon emissions rather than public health, leaving a data gap in our understanding. As a result, different models based on solid, but varying, assumptions can provide different conclusions, which can lead people to cherrypick results based on their agenda – or reject them all outright.However, while some study results may contradict one another, the body of science as a whole is less hazy on the conclusions: smoke from uncontrolled fires is a deadly threat to Southeast Asia whose victims number in the thousands, not dozens.A portrait of a little girl, Hanum, who died from a respiratory infection during the 2015 haze crisis hangs in the family home. Last year, her father testified in a citizen lawsuit against the police’s closing of cases against 15 plantation companies alleged to be complicit in the disaster. Photo by Made Ali.Toxic cloudsWhile emissions from burning peatlands are less well-studied than other types, recent research has shown that they contain potent carcinogens and over 90 different gases, some of which are highly toxic. Among those, formaldehyde, acrolein, benzene, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide are the most concerning, given their negative health effects in even relatively small doses. As such, the World Health Organization (WHO) and most other regulatory agencies have established recommendations for safe exposure levels to these chemicals – levels that are regularly exceeded by peat smoke and resultant haze, as shown by a comprehensive 2016 meta-analysis of 375 fire and health studies published between 1970-2014 from different fuel types around the world.Formaldehyde and acrolein are both known carcinogens, while benzene, a potent organic compound, can negatively affect the blood, brain and immune systems. Firefighter exposure to formaldehyde at prescribed burns in the U.S. has been recorded as high as 3,700 percent of the recommended maximum, and measurements of peat fire production of the gas have lead researchers to caution that exposure to the local population will likely exceed recommended levels.A satellite image taken at the height of the 2015 haze crisis shows the international extent of the disaster. Large oil palm and timber plantation companies are the biggest culprits when it comes to the peatland drainage that underlies the crisis. Many of the firms are owned by a small group of Southeast Asian billionaires. NASA image by Adam Voiland (NASA Earth Observatory) and Jeff Schmaltz (LANCE MODIS Rapid Response).Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly toxic blood poison that binds with hemoglobin, preventing effective oxygen uptake. The amount of CO a fire produces varies widely, and although it readily dissipates in the atmosphere, acute exposure at the source can have deadly consequences. While most studies find exposure levels from forest fires to be below regulatory guidelines, the slow smoldering nature of peat can produce high levels of CO not typically seen from other fires. In 2015, outdoor levels of CO in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, were measured at 3-6 times higher than what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers dangerous. Further, CO can linger in the bloodstream for several hours, adding to the level of CO already in the environment from vehicle exhaust and other pollution.A NASA image from the U.S. space agency’s Terra satellite shows carbon monoxide output from the 2015 fire and haze crisis. Concentrations of the gas nearly reached 1,300 parts per billion in Central Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo (right). The normal average is around 100 parts per billion. Image courtesy of Earth Observatory.Finally, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) has been shown to affect lung function and is particularly threatening to individuals who already suffer from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Although long-term, low-level exposure to NO2 may be relatively safe, short-term exposure to high concentrations of NO2 correlates with increased mortality in several studies. Firefighter exposure to NO2 has been recorded at 2.5 times the acceptable occupational limits. As noted, these chemicals can all have severe health effects in high doses, but less is known about long-term, repeated exposure. Further, the established guidelines typically do not consider the cumulative effects of multiple carcinogens, irritants and toxins bombarding the body at the same time for an extended period.Killer ParticlesBeyond the highly toxic gases listed above, however, a more threatening byproduct of peat fires appears to be fine particulate matter (PM). These airborne particles are classified as either PM10 (between 2.5 and 10 micrometers, roughly the size of dust, pollen or mold) or PM2.5 (less than 2.5 micrometers, only visible with an electron microscope). According to the WHO, both are responsible for acute respiratory issues such as asthma, while PM2.5 is increasingly linked to mortality from heart and lung disease.The ultrafine PM2.5 particles are small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs, coating the tiny air sacs known as alveoli and even crossing into the bloodstream. PM2.5 is produced by vehicle exhaust, wood burning and most other types of combustion, and while all particulates can have negative health effects, different emission sources produce different toxins. A 2013 study of Indonesian peat fire smoke found that the carcinogenic metals cadmium, chromium, nickel and cobalt where being produced at 16, 9, 8, and 13 times the rate of background pollution.The health effects of PM2.5 have been thoroughly researched in laboratory settings as well as in population-based cohort and ecological studies, and even short-term exposure is linked to cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.A 2014 meta-analysis of 110 published studies of PM2.5 concluded that although there was some variability among the data, the general consensus was that death rates rise with even short-term exposure to ultrafine particulate matter. Taken as a whole, the literature shows that increasing short-term exposure to PM2.5 by 10 micrograms per cubic-meter (μg/m3) will result in a 1.04 percent increase in mortality risk. This is observed across all age groups in all parts of the world, with the rate varying from 0.25-2.08 percent. The highest mortality increases were reported from studies in Chile, Mexico and Brazil. (The analysis included no studies from Southeast Asia.)A man stands before a pile of oil-palm fruit at the height of the 2015 fires in the Central Kalimantan capital of Palangkaraya, an epicenter of the disaster. The orange color is real. Photo by Björn Vaughn for Greenpeace.To put the numbers in perspective, the WHO sets the standard for 24-hour average exposure to PM2.5 at 25 μg/m3. During the 2015 haze event 24-hour averages in Singapore regularly topped 100 μg/m3, with one station recording a high of 471 μg/m3.It is important to note that these acute spikes in particulate matter during haze events occur on top of daily background exposures that already well exceed safe standards. Over 90 percent of the populations of Indonesia and Malaysia and 100 percent of Singapore’s population are consistently exposed to PM2.5 levels above WHO recommendations. By contrast, less than 10 percent of the U.S. population ever experiences levels above the WHO guideline. However, even in the U.S. – where advanced healthcare is readily available and background particulate matter is relatively low – the effects from forest fires can still be deadly. A recent analysis by the U.S. EPA and Australian researchers found that short-term exposure to PM2.5 produced by wildfires in the U.S. between 2008-2012 was likely responsible for 1,880 premature deaths per year. Further, they estimate that long-term exposure to fine particulate matter likely caused 10,940-24,600 premature deaths per year for the same period.Although these numbers are lower than the 11,800-100,300 premature deaths predicted for Southeast Asia as a result of the 2015 blaze, one must consider all confounding factors including exposure times and intensity as well as access to medical care and population health before drawing any comparisons between the two.Vulnerable PopulationsOne issue with using broad population-wide studies – like the majority of those above – is that they are typically unable to tease out which groups might be at a higher risk, or to separate immediate causes from chronic conditions. For example, the effect of PM2.5 exposure on pregnancies, newborns and infants is still poorly understood, but at least one study reached a tragic conclusion.Northwestern University economist Seema Jayachandran analyzed Indonesia’s 2000 census data and found that there were over 16,000 children “missing” from the census that models otherwise expected. Further, regional decreases in the number of children correlated significantly with exposure levels during the 1997 haze crisis in different provinces.Children at a playground in Sei Ahass village, Central Kalimantan province, during the 2015 haze crisis. The air is engulfed with thick haze from the fires nearby. Photo by Björn Vaughn for Greenpeace.Other studies have found that exposure to haze during pregnancy can negatively impact a developing fetus. An analysis of 886,034 births during four years in Southern California found that fetuses who’s parents were exposed to wildfire smoke weighed 6.1 grams less than normal at birth. This weight loss may be a result of reduced oxygen in the bloodstream during pregnancy, or even the mother’s stress during haze events. Although the effect found in this study is slight, the researchers note that increased frequency of haze exposure resulted in increased negative effects. Further, they point out, if enough pregnant women are affected, no matter how slight, this could significantly alter birth outcomes for the population – particularly among those populations already at risk for low birth weight.At the other end of the lifeline, a new paper from the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre published this month reports that cases of acute lung disease increased during the 2015 haze episode, as did the number of new lung cancer patients. Although the latter is likely due to more undiagnosed cases seeking treatment for breathing difficulty, the center also reports cancer survival time decreased by 36 percent for those exposed to the haze.Clinic ASRI in Indonesia’s West Kalimantan province said via email that during the same period, their respiratory cases increased by 47 percent, and their oxygen use tripled. They did not report any haze-related deaths – which means Susilo’s nebulizer treatment must have been successful.And, while it is true that the lack of “hard data” could mean the exact toll that fires take on the people of Southeast Asia may never be known, the growing body of science well-documents the health effects of forest fire smoke on both individuals and populations.Meanwhile, for patients like Mr. Susilo, the only “hard data” that truly matters is the fact that he made it back home to his family and his garden – just in time for the rainy season. Article published by mongabayauthor Agriculture, Environment, Fires, Forest Fires, Haze, Health, Peatlands, Plantations, Public Health, Research, Southeast Asian Haze last_img read more

Columbus basketball teams on a roll

first_imgBy Hub City Times staffMARSHFIELD – Both Marshfield Columbus Catholic basketball teams beat Stevens Point Pacelli on Dec. 15 at the Bishop John Paul Basketball Showcase at La Crosse Aquinas High School and Viterbo University.The Dons’ girls beat the Pacelli Cardinals at Viterbo 39-26. Hailey Roehl led Columbus Catholic with 10 points.The Columbus boys beat the Cardinals 74-53 at Aquinas High School. Jarred Mandel led the Dons with 28 points. Columbus led by 19 at halftime, and improved to 8-0 with the win. The Dons play at Greenwood Jan. 4 and at Marathon Jan. 8.Meanwhile, the Columbus girls took down Greenwood on Dec. 18 at Columbus High School 54-26. Addie Baierl was the high scorer for the Dons with 16. Roehl had 10. Brooke Hinker led Greenwood with 11 points.The Columbus girls are at Neillsville Jan. 3 and at Colby on Jan. 8.last_img read more

Liverpool deny BBC 5 Live rights to broadcast Spartak Moscow tie

first_imgThere is shock at the BBC over the decision, with one insider describing it as “monumentally restrictive” as it will deny a likely listener base of more than one million people the chance to listen to the Group E fixture as it unfolds via a traditional radio service. There is also the suspicion at the station that this is a taste of things to come as major clubs, and Liverpool in particular, look to take live broadcasting of their games, on TV as well as radio, in house.Liverpool have defended the decision by pointing out that live commentary of each of their five Champions League group matches so far this season have been broadcast via their website and that access to the service for the Spartak match will, like with the others, be free. All would-be listeners have to do is register to the site.Such a move does somewhat exclude non-Liverpool supporters who may want to listen to commentary of the game as they are unlikely to register to the club’s website to do so, and also excludes anyone who does not own a laptop/home computer/smartphone or access to the internet. Anyone who wants to watch live television coverage of the fixture will require BT Sport to do so, with the channel having retained exclusive rights to show Champions League fixtures in March.Rights to live radio commentaries of Champions League matches in England are negotiated directly between broadcasters and clubs and done so on a game by game basis. BBC 5 Live has yet to do full commentary of one of Liverpool’s European games at Anfield this season, primarily because they have consistently played on the same evening as Tottenham Hotspur, whose fixtures, namely those against Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, have been more high profile. They did broadcast Liverpool draw with Sevilla last month, for which they did not have to pay a rights’ fee as it took place in Spain, and were confident of also having a commentary team on Merseyside in midweek, so much so that full live commentary of Liverpool v Spartak Moscow has already been listed on the schedule page of 5 Live’s website.Liverpool insist that their decision is not the start of a process that will see an increasing restriction of live broadcast of their European matches to their official channels and that they will continue to make decisions on a game-by-game basis. Klopp’s team are guaranteed European football in the new year as even if they lose against Spartak, with whom they drew 1-1 in Moscow three months ago, the lowest they will finish in Group E is third, which would see them qualify instead for the Europa League. Share on Facebook Champions League Share on WhatsApp Share on Pinterest Radio 5 Live Read more Share via Email Roberto Firmino on target twice as Liverpool fire five past Brighton Radio Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Anyone hoping to listen to live radio commentary of Liverpool’s decisive Champions League tie with Spartak Moscow on Wednesday will not be able to do so after the club made the decision to restrict audio access to the match to their official website.Liverpool had been in negotiations with BBC Radio 5 Live, who along with Talksport broadcast Champions League matches in this country, about full commentary of the fixture since the 3-3 draw with Sevilla on 21 November, when a late collapse by Jürgen Klopp’s side denied them guaranteed qualification to the knockout stages of the competition and meant they require at least a draw against Spartak at Anfield to progress.BBC 5 Live fully expected to secure the necessary rights, only to discover on Saturday that the club is limiting them to a reporter who can send brief updates and post-match interviews with the managers and players from both sides. Liverpool news Topics BBC Share on Messenger Reuse this contentlast_img read more

Explaining the Budget

first_img The Budget is funded primarily through taxation and fees. These include property tax, income tax, general consumption tax (GCT), and statutory fees. This is a projection of what Jamaica expects to receive in terms of revenue and what it expects to spend for the coming financial year. Each year, the Government outlines its plans for the economic and social development of the country, through its Budget. Story Highlights Each year, the Government outlines its plans for the economic and social development of the country, through its Budget.This is a projection of what Jamaica expects to receive in terms of revenue and what it expects to spend for the coming financial year.The Budget is funded primarily through taxation and fees. These include property tax, income tax, general consumption tax (GCT), and statutory fees.It is also funded through non-taxation measures such as capital payments, grants from multilateral organisations and loans.For the 2019/20 fiscal year, the Government has presented a Budget of $803 billion, with $731 billion allocated for Recurrent (housekeeping) expenses and $72 billion for Capital (development) projects.The Recurrent account represents the cost of maintaining the permanent administrative structure of Government.It contains all the expenses that accrue in the carrying out of services normally rendered by the Government. Some of these expenses include wages and salaries of government employees, and the upkeep of offices, factories, warehouses and farms. The Recurrent account also contains an estimate of the revenue expected from taxes, such as import duties, income taxes, property taxes, licences, and consumption duties.The Capital account is the cost of maintaining the national infrastructure and implementing projects that enhance the country’s ability to pursue growth and development.This includes expenses connected with the purchase and upkeep of goods such as machinery in factories, school buildings, offices and roads. It also includes income from government-owned profit-making enterprises and loans of various kinds.The Ministry of Finance and the Public Service has been allocated the largest sum in the Budget, with $385.6 billion for Recurrent expenses and $5.7 billion for Capital expenditure. A large portion of the sum will go towards meeting Jamaica’s debt obligations.The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information gets the second largest amount with $109.4 billion for Recurrent expenses and $1.2 billion for Capital spending.The Ministry of Health has been allocated $69 billion for Recurrent expenses and $3.7 billion for Capital projects, while the Ministry of National Security has received $72.4 billion for Recurrent expenditure and $20.2 billion for Capital projects.For the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, $10.9 billion has been allocated for Recurrent and $18 billion for Capital; Ministry of Justice, $8.5 billion for Recurrent and $1.7 billion for Capital; and Office of the Prime Minister, $9.1 billion – Recurrent, and $7.9 billion – Capital.The Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives, comprised of all 63 Members of Parliament, began its review of the 2019/20 Estimates of Expenditure this morning (March 4), which will continue on Tuesday (March 5).The estimates outline the money allocated to ministries, departments and agencies as well as for projects.Over the two days, the respective portfolio ministers will explain the allocations, after which a report will be sent to the House of Representatives for approval.On Thursday, March 7, Dr. Clarke will open the Budget Debate, and on Tuesday, March 12, the Opposition Spokesperson on Finance, Mark Golding, will make his contribution to the Debate.Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Peter Phillips, will make his contribution to the Debate on Thursday, March 14.Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, will speak in the Budget Debate on Tuesday, March 19, and the Finance Minister will close the Debate on Wednesday, March 20.On Friday, March 22, the Senate is expected to debate the Budget.The Debate provides the Government with the opportunity to outline the activities that will be undertaken for the new fiscal year, take stock of its performance over the previous fiscal year, measure its progress in relation to the targets previously set, and assess the effectiveness of its management of the country’s finances.last_img read more