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Janice Lee on CNA Money Mind: Haze, peatland deforestation, climate change and sustainability
The problem with haze has been recurrent in Singapore since the 1990ies. Why have we not made it go away?
ASE Assistant Professor Janice Lee explains to CNA how the peatland fires that are the source of the haze are connected to cash crops for export, such as palm oil, which is common in Sumatra and Kalimantan, but also pulp wood and rubber plantations. Deforestation and clearing of peatland has made the deep organic peat soils drier and more combustible.Tropical peatland soils are built up of organic material that has accumulated over thousands of years. That not only means that they burn for a long time and are fires hard to put out, but also that they release a lot more smoke and carbondioxide into the atmosphere compared to regular rainforest soil or mineral soil. When the peatlands burn that carbon is released into the atmosphere where it contributes to climate change.
In addition, Asst Prof Lee points out, when forests burn habitats are lost for many species of wild animals and plants.
Long terms solutions include sustainable practices along the entire supply chain, including financers and traders.