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Erik Meijaard: Indonesia's fire crisis — the biggest environmental crime of the 21st century

Author: Erik Meijaard, Jakarta Globe, Published on: 26 October 2015

…Why has the Indonesian government not taken serious steps to stop and control the fire and haze problem?... By its own estimate a few weeks ago, the fire and haze issue was going to cost Indonesia $35 billion. That would be about 4 percent of Indonesia’s gross national product, basically wiping out all economic growth for 2015…I also don’t know whether these figures take the many intangible impacts of fire into consideration, like haze-related traffic accidents, canceled flights, or businesses that cannot operate? What about the impacts of haze-related unemployment…But much more importantly, how does one account for the cost of health impacts and deaths?... There are so many direct and indirect socio-economic impacts, and the total costs of Indonesia’s poorly managed fire problem might well reach the $50 billion mark or go beyond…I think what might help to garner action both locally and globally is to call this year’s fire and haze disaster what it really is: the biggest environmental crime of the 21st century. 

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