Incendios Forestales y Quema de Rastrojos: Efectos sobre la Calidad del Aire y Salud Humana

En España somos muy conscientes de los devastadores efectos de los incendios forestales (ver también este artículo de la Revista Ecosistemas), si bien nadie puede negar que forma una parte consustancial de muchos de nuestros ecosistemas. También hemos hablado de sus repercusiones sobre la salud humana. Sin embargo, se trata de bagatelas cuando se compara con la quema residuos e cosechas, y lo que es peor aún, de ecosistemas prístinos en otras partes del mundo. La incidencia de los incendios forestales en el SE Asiático sigue aumentando, conforme lo hace la deforestación de tierras vírgenes. Y esta última lo hace a su vez según aumentan las demandas de biocombustibles. Resulta por tanto rocambolesco que algunos ecologistas de salón, llamen mentirosos a medio mundo, cuando defienden la agroenergética, y se queden tan orondos. ¿Cuál es pues la frontera entre la “cultura verde” y el terrorismo ecológico?  En el SE asiático, el incesante crecimiento de la población requiere la nueva puesta de tierras en cultivo. Más aún, la demanda de aceite de palma para los biocombustibles y otros usos, está generando la demolición de ecosistemas cuya biodiversidad aun se desconoce. Muchas de tales actividades se realizan sobre bosques tropicales que, a menudo, crecen sobre turberas con muchos metros de espesor, por lo que su drenaje para la reclamación agrícola desprende ingentes cantidades de gases de invernadero. Especialmente en Indonesia, durante la estación seca, el número e incidencia de los fuegos aumente incesantemente (pinchar en este enlace). El problema es tan grave que los gobiernos de los países vecinos se lamentan de las graves repercusiones que vecinos pirómanos generan en sus economías (turismo), vida cotidiana (smog que tiende a complicar la visibilidad viaria y de sus aeropuertos) y la salud de su población que respira un aire insano y cargado de partículas (peor que el que se conoce en las ciudades más contaminadas del mundo).  Los efectos sobre la salud humana comienzan a ser más que serios, como podréis observar en las tres noticias que os exponemos más abajo. Tales prácticas, como ya comentamos se realizan durante la estación seca. Sin embargo, estudios recientes confirman que son las actividades humanas y no los ciclos de sequía o el cambio climático sus verdaderos responsables.

 

 

 

Incendios forestales en Sumatra. Fuente NASA

 

Siempre cabe pensar que las necesidades alimentarias de una población hambrienta, subyace a este tipo de impacto ambiental. Sin embargo, ya la primera nota de prensa advierte que la agricultura tradicional no resulta ser la principal responsable del problema, por cuanto va siendo desplaza por la industrial a gran escala, como ocurre en Kalimantan. Los efectos de esta última son mucho más devastadores, por cuanto afectan a extensiones enormes. Y bien sabemos quien suele estar detrás. Empresas multinacionales a quines tan solo les importan sus propios beneficios, con independencia de que se expolie a la naturaleza, o se asesinen niños y ancianos. Y mientras tanto, las autoridades españolas hablan de lucha contra el cambio climático y desarrollo sostenible defendiendo los biocombustibles, cuando la verdad es que trabajan para una siniestra ONG denominada “humo sin fronteras”.  

 

 

 

Bosque quemado para la agroenergética:

Fuente: The Coffee Housse

 

No es mi labor explicaros todo lo que ocurre en estos países. Sin embargo, si tenéis la paciencia de hurgar en las tres noticias que abajo os expongo, y/o utilizando los vocablos adecuados con vuestros motores de búsqueda favoritos con vistas a indagar en Internet estar seguros que se os pondrán los pelos de punta. ¿Cuántas personas enferman o mueren al año por esta razón?. Resulta difícil de saberlo con exactitud, ya que por lo general agravan los síntomas de otras previas. Una civilización sin ética, y una legalidad que no se aplica son las mechas que encienden muchos de los desastres naturales.

 

 

Calidad del Aire y Salud afectada por los

biocombustibles. Fuente: Daylife

 

Juan José Ibáñez      

 

Human Role In Indonesian Polluting Forest Fires

by Staff Writers; Den Haag, Netherlands (SPX) May 21, 2009

 

Although severe drought provides the conditions conducive for forest fires, it is often humans who are actually responsible. Many of the fires are deliberately started to free up land for agriculture. The sustained burning of biomass not only releases the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane but also large quantities of carbon monoxide and particulate matter.

 

The large forest fires that sweep through Indonesia in dry periods are not only the result of severe drought. A team of researchers, including Veni grant winner Guido van der Werf, has analysed the density of smog during forest fires. They have now established that the intensity of the forest fires is directly linked to population density and land use. Nature Geoscience published the results of the research on 22 February.

 

The biggest problem of the fires in Indonesia is not the fire itself but the poisonous smoke released. Due to this smoke, the number of people killed by fires in Indonesia is probably many times higher than that in Australia this year. Furthermore, the smog also causes severe damage to the environment. Knowledge about the causes of these fires is essential for improved predictions of major fire years. Where there’s smoke…


The researchers used the thick smoke produced by the Indonesian fires to analyse the forest fires. Due to a lack of good satellite images, little is known about fires that took place before the 1990s. The researchers solved this problem by using other data recorded daily during the past fifty years, namely the visibility observations and meteorological data from airports.  One of the most interesting results from the study was that low rainfall in Sumatra has been resulting in fires since at least 1960, while in Kalimantan this has only been the case since 1980. Kalimantan was fairly resistant to dry periods up until 1980, but since then Kalimantan has become far more prone to fires prone during drought years. The population of Sumatra grew rapidly in the 1960s. However, a comparable increase in the population was not seen in Kalimantan until the 1980s.

 

The rising population on Kalimantan was accompanied by a change in land use from small-scale subsistence agriculture to large-scale industrial agriculture and agroforestry. In order to support this change, large areas of peatlands were drained and deforestation took place on a grand scale. These changes in land use and population density made Kalimantan far more fire prone. Although the enormous influence of this man-made change was already suspected, this is the first time that these claims have been substantiated by reliable data.

 

Climate change

In addition to the major human influences, the researchers also analysed the influence of two meteorological phenomena. The influence of El Nino on the amount of rainfall was already known, but the Indian Ocean Dipole, that exerts a major influence on the water surface temperature, appeared to be an equally important factor. Although severe drought provides the conditions conducive for forest fires, it is often humans who are actually responsible. Many of the fires are deliberately started to free up land for agriculture. The sustained burning of biomass not only releases the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane but also large quantities of carbon monoxide and particulate matter.

 

Consequently, during major fire years the air quality in Indonesia is many times worse than that of the most polluted cities of the world. Moreover, the polluted air also affects people living in neighbouring areas. Researcher Guido van der Werf from the VU University Amsterdam carried out his research in collaboration with Robert Field and Samuel Shen. In 2008, Van der Werf was awarded NWO’s prestigious Vening Meinesz prize for the most promising young researcher in the earth sciences.

 

 

 

Malaysia offers to help Indonesia as haze season looms

by Staff Writers; Kuala Lumpur (AFP) June 14, 2009

Malaysia has offered to help Indonesia curb forest fires blamed for the choking haze that shrouds the region each year, media reports said Sunday, as air quality fell in the country. In the dry season, Indonesian farmers burn forests to clear land for agriculture, causing a smoky haze that spreads across the region, affecting tourism and increasing health problems. “We have special aeroplanes which can be used to carry out water bombing,” the Sunday Star quoted Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak as saying.

 

“It is up to the Indonesian government to accept it,” the premier told the newspaper, as he urged Malaysians to avoid open burning. Malaysian environment authorities said air quality and visibility in parts of the country over the past week fell from “good” to “moderate.”. On Sunday morning, the environment department said 22 out of 49 areas it monitored were “moderate,” an improvement from Friday when three areas including capital Kuala Lumpur were “unhealthy.” The Indonesian government has outlawed land-clearing by fire but weak enforcement means the ban is largely ignored.

 

Environment ministers from Singapore, Malaysia and other regional nations have urged Indonesia promptly to ratify a regional treaty aimed at preventing cross-border haze pollution. Malaysia said last year that it will help Indonesian farmers practise safer farming methods, to help curb the forest fires, by sending experts to the fire-prone Riau region on Indonesia‘s Sumatra island. The haze hit its worst level in 1997-98, costing the region an estimated nine billion dollars by disrupting air travel, tourism and other business activities as smoke enveloped the region.


Related Links
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up

 

 

Indonesian hotspots flare, haze thickens: officials

by Staff Writers


Jakarta, Indonesia (AFP) June 16, 2009

 

More than 400 fires have been recorded burning in Indonesia‘s Riau province so far in June, a huge increase from the same time last year, officials said Tuesday. Smoke from the fires is causing haze that is drifting across neighbouring Malaysia, where authorities said Sunday air quality and visibility in some areas had fallen from “good” to “moderate” over the previous week. Most of the illegal fires were the result of land and forest clearing for traditional farming and palm oil plantations, forestry ministry official Israr Albar said.

 

The number of hotspots may increase two to three-fold this month. The farmers are clearing land for cultivation in more areas,” he said. Land cleared by local residents accounted for 65 to 70 percent of the fires.”  There were 401 hotspots in Riau this month compared to 227 in the whole of June last year, he said.  Almost 1,000 hotspots were detected in Riau, 73 in West Kalimantan and 18 in Central Kalimantan last month, the start of the dry season.

 

Agricultural burning during the dry season, which ends around September, is an annual source of smoky haze that affects tourism and contributes to health problems across the region. The government has outlawed land-clearing by fire but weak enforcement means the ban is largely ignored. Environment ministers from Singapore, Malaysia and other regional nations have urged Indonesia to promptly ratify a regional treaty aimed at preventing cross-border haze pollution.

Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up

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España.

Matrata a todo lo que se mueve.

Mujeres, animales, medio ambiente.

Gran pena , asco y verguenza sentimos muchos, de ver que los los politicos solo piensan en su CORRUPCION.

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