A NASA satellite image showing the extent of the haze in Borneo on 15 September 2019. A NASA satellite image showing the extent of the haze in Borneo on 15 September 2019. - ImagesGram

A NASA satellite image showing the extent of the haze in Borneo on 15 September 2019.


2019 Southeast Asian haze

After several relatively quiet fire seasons in Indonesia, an abundance of blazes in Kalimantan (part of Borneo) and Sumatra in September 2019 has blanketed the region in a pall of thick, noxious smoke. Caption by Adam Voiland.
The 2019 Southeast Asian haze is an ongoing trans-national air pollution crisis that is affecting several countries in Southeast Asia, including Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Thailand began to experience a haze in February that lasted until May, peaking in March and April. Later in the year, starting from June to July, Indonesia began to experience haze. Malaysia was affected from August, while Singapore, Brunei, and Vietnam experienced haze in September.

It is the latest occurrence of the Southeast Asian haze, a long-term issue that occurs in varying intensity during every dry season in the region. It has mainly been caused by forest fires resulting from illegal slash-and-burn practices, principally on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan, which then spread quickly in the dry season, prolonged by the formation of Typhoon Francisco in the Pacific, and the low-pressure system forming in the South China Sea, and Pacific Ocean.