Natural Hazards: Fires on Borneo
The fires occur annually in the dry season (August-October), caused mainly by land-clearing and other agricultural fires. Fires escape control and burn into forests and peat-swamp areas. Fires in peat—thick layers of dead, but un-decayed vegetation—are extremely smoky and difficult to put out
This is another contributing factor to the acid rain cloud over Asia, along with increased car pollution. It is also a problem of desertification. Now withthese fires in Borneo another area faces desertification thanks to international agribusiness. This is not the frist time fires have gotten out of control in the Indonesian islands. Nor will it be the last.
The agricultural burning is a by product of palm oil production which is the major commdity export business in Indonesia dominated by agribusiness cartels like Cargill.
As I wrote back in 1997;
"In the fall of 1997 the islands of Sumatra and Borneo caught fire, and burned through out the fall and winter. The devastation and resulting air pollution covered not only Indonesia but its neighbours in Thailand and Malaysia. The government and corporations at first blamed peasants for the fires, saying it was caused by slash and burn agriculture.
In reality it was the slash and burn policies of the Indonesian government and its corporate partners like Cargill, which created the conditions which led to this ecological disaster. News reports reveal that the fires were started to clear land for palm oil planatations!"
There is nothing natural at all about these fires, they are the result of deliberate slash and burn policies of the palm oil industry.
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