Over the last few days Borneo Nature Foundation has joined a team of diverse partners to discuss combating the toxic haze released from the frequent forest fire events in Indonesia. Partners from NGO’s, government, communities and the private sector came together to present and discuss our actions to raise awareness of the impacts of the haze, with a focus on children’s health, welfare and education.
The toxic haze contains tiny particles of pollution (known as PM 2.5), which are extremely hazardous to human health. The particles are microscopic so can be absorbed into the body through skin and eyes, not only by breathing.
Wally Tham and the Big Red Button (Singapore) is developing tools and practical solutions to help people stay safe and make homes, schools and hospitals haze-safe zones. One of these initial ideas is a ‘haze nest’, which can be made relatively easily and can create a safe space inside people’s homes.
Ideas have been tested and trialed by Pulse Lab Jakarta, UNICEF, Kopernik and local NGO Ranu Welum through co-design workshops with children in villages and towns in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. The children have been asked to come up with their own innovations to combat the haze and, while very much in the early stages, this is promising work.
Borneo Nature Foundation is providing scientific advice to the UNICEF team as well as sharing our knowledge and on-the- ground experience of working in peatland forests and fighting forest fires over the past 18 years. Tackling human health is one part of the forest fire issue, and we hope this is the start of a great collaboration and positive actions for dealing with the toxic and life-threatening haze.