Smoky Haze Over Myanmar – March 17th, 2013
A thick haze hangs over Myanmar (right) and spreads into neighboring countries, including India’s far northeast. The haze is basically an annual event, usually caused by large fires in Myanmar and other countries in Southeast Asia.
Such fires, which are typically set by farmers for clearing rice stubble to make room for new crops, grow out of control, and are largely ignored. Many spread into national parks to mingle with existing fires deliberately set to control undergrowth.
Although slash-and-burn agriculture and the deliberate setting of fires are illegal, measures are rarely taken to stop farmers from setting fires around this time every year. Even when the fires themselves don’t pose much of a threat, the accumulated smoke particles do raise concerns. In the past, the particulate count has reached more than six times higher than what is generally considered safe (click here for more information).