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Asia Minute: Dangerous Haze Choking Parts of Southeast Asia

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons
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The return of the trade winds has helped to push some of that recent humid air away from the islands. The trade wind patterns also help keep vog away from most island residents. But in Southeast Asia, a different kind of haze is disrupting life for thousands of people.  HPR’s Bill Dorman has details in today’s Asia Minute. 

The air quality in a number of locations across Indonesia is so bad the government calls it “dangerous to breathe.”  Its haze caused by brush fires - including many set on purpose—and illegally-- to clear land to plant crops—largely palm oil and some timber operations.

Indonesia’s president has called out the army to help fight fires.  In Malaysia, officials have closed schools in three states - and they are seeding clouds to make it rain.

Flights around the region have been cancelled, diverted and disrupted.  Local media say several thousand people have evacuated the Indonesian city of Pekanbaru after a pollution measure deteriorated to a point more than triple the level that triggers a “hazardous” warning.  That city is less than 200 miles from Singapore where some outdoor weekend events were cancelled because of poor air quality.

This weekend Singapore is scheduled to host a Formula One Grand Prix race - a prestigious event for the city’s international reputation.  Right now, the race is going ahead as scheduled, but organizers say if haze causes “visibility, public health or operational issues,” they’ll “work closely with the relevant agencies before making any collective decisions regarding the event.”

Nick Yee’s passion for music developed at an early age, as he collected jazz and rock records pulled from dusty locations while growing up in both Southern California and Honolulu. In college he started DJing around Honolulu, playing Jazz and Bossa Nova sets at various lounges and clubs under the name dj mr.nick. He started to incorporate Downtempo, House and Breaks into his sets as his popularity grew, eventually getting DJ residences at different Chinatown locations. To this day, he is a fixture in the Honolulu underground club scene, where his live sets are famous for being able to link musical and cultural boundaries, starting mellow and building the audience into a frenzy while steering free of mainstream clichés.
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