Open burning on a large scale causes the haze. The burning can be because of natural forest fires or irresponsible men burning a vast area for cultivation. When either one of these takes place, the smoke from the fires rises and spreads to the surrounding areas. It can even travel as far as the neighbouring countries. For example, when there was extensive open burning in Indonesia, the haze spread to Malaysia and Singapore. In these countries, the situation is further aggravated by the pollution from vehicles and factories. The haze is an unwelcome visitor. Its effects, which are manifold, affect human beings, animals as well as plants.
The haze can cause health problems. People who suffer from asthma would experience breathing problems or their asthma may recur or become worse. The haze can also cause dry throats and result in flu or runny nose. Moreover, some people may come down with sore eyes (conjunctivitis). During this period of time, infants, young children and the elderly have to take precaution because their immune system is not strong enough to withstand the detrimental effects of the haze.
Besides causing ill health, the haze can cause serious injuries or lives to be lost. This is because the haze obscures vision on the road or in the air. So if a motorist is not extra cautious, he may run into other motorists. This may result in serious injuries and even death. In the air, the haze can cause a collision if pilots lose their bearing because the haze has hampered their vision. If such an incident occurs, it may result in a large number of deaths. It is not only in the air where the pilots can experience visual difficulties. Even when landing or taking off, they may not be able to get a clear view of the runaway. If they are not careful, an accident may occur.
The haze also affects the social life of people. Many people would rather stay at home and not venture outdoors when the haze is around. This is because they wish to avoid being sick or meeting with an accident. When they do this, businessmen who own restaurants and entertainment spots suffer. They do not have many customers patronizing their place because the latter do not want to go outdoors. Consequently, for that period of time, their revenue would decrease. Not only may the businessmen, the country, too be affected by the haze. Realizing the dangers of the haze, tourists may not want to visits the country or cancel their pre-booked trip. Furthermore, diplomats may also cancel visits because of the haze.
As the haze causes so much inconvenience to everyone, measures must be taken to overcome it and prevent it from happening in the future. One would be to aid the country where forest fires are common. Sending essential equipment to help fight the fire can do this. Another way to prevent it from recurring would be to have a stringent international law that prohibits a country from polluting the environment with the haze. In this way, the authorities within the country itself would take extra measures to make sure that their citizens do not continue to indulge in open burning.