Southeast Asia's hazardous haze

More than 140,000 people have reported respiratory infections in smog-choked areas.

| Health, Environment

The forest fires blanketing Southeast Asia in a choking haze are on track to become among the worst on record, NASA has warned.

A prolonged dry season is hampering efforts to curb a crisis that has persisted for nearly two decades.

Malaysia, Singapore and large expanses of Indonesia have suffered for weeks from acrid smoke billowing from fires on plantations and peatlands that are being illegally cleared by burning.

The haze has had a devastating impact on people's health in Indonesia, and more than 140,000 people have reported respiratory infections in smog-choked areas.

Environment officials said on Monday the level of pollution from Indonesia has risen sharply in the south of the country, near the Malaysian border, and health authorities were opening hotlines to provide advice and issuing face masks.

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