Illegal Slash-and-Burn Fires Causing Smog Problem in Indonesia

Skies above Indonesia have been blanketed with smog as wildfires burn throughout its forests. Ignoring environmental laws, companies are using the practice of slash-and-burn to clear land for palm oil plantations. Not only do the illegal fires decimate rainforests and…

Skies above Indonesia have been blanketed with smog as wildfires burn throughout its forests. Ignoring environmental laws, companies are using the practice of slash-and-burn to clear land for palm oil plantations. Not only do the illegal fires decimate rainforests and peatlands, they also fill the air with lethal levels of smoke, as seen in this NASA satellite image, taken on August 27th. Indonesia’s pollution index hit a record-high 401 earlier this month; any reading above 400 is considered life-threatening to elderly and sick people. Palm oil is the world’s single largest vegetable oil commodity and global demand is rising rapidly, causing massive damage to tropical forests, especially in Southeast Asia.