Haze triggers health issues for Indonesian orangutans, rehab center swings into treatment mode
UNTV News • September 18, 2019 • 377
More than thirty orangutans in Kalimantan on Tuesday (September 17) were being treated at a rehabilitation center suffering from respiratory issues triggered by smokey forest fires in Indonesia.
Officials from the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) reported that 31 orangutans were suffering from various breathing-related ailments and were being treated with nebulizers and antibiotics.
They said the fires were barely 300 meters from one of the rehabilitation centers in Nyaru Menteng.
The air pollution index in Palangka Raya, the capital of Central Kalimantan province on Borneo, has been at a “dangerous” level for days. Schools in Palangka Raya and another city in Central Kalimantan, Sampit, have been closed this week.
Fires have ripped through more than 328,000 hectares of forests and peatlands in Indonesia since January, causing a choking haze to envelop some cities in Borneo and the island of Sumatra, according to the country’s disaster mitigation agency. (REUTERS)
Indonesia surpassed 100,000 cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday (July 27), reporting 1,525 new infections to take the total number to 100,303, data from the country’s Health Ministry website showed.
In Jakarta, people are worried with no clarity over the data provided by the government. “We really need the clarity from the government on the exact data of Covid-19, including the red zone area which can help us to be aware of ourselves to not go there.” Cia Teresia said, a 22-year old university student. In one of the busiest bus stations, bus workers are seen giving awareness for passengers by wearing protective suits and holding a placard with number of coronavirus cases in Jakarta.
The tally came one week after President Joko Widodo formed two new COVID-19 committees for the virus handling and the recovery of its economy.
The number of deaths in the Southeast Asian nation related to COVID-19 also increased by 57, to bring the total to 4,838, the data showed. (Reuters)
Designers in Indonesia and Malaysia are adding their artistic touches to reusable face masks, providing essential supplies and style and uniqueness amid the pandemic.
In the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, Nicholas Septian Sugandi’s print shop had been losing business throughout his country’s mass-scale restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, but thanks to a new product introduced in May, lost business has been “recovered”.
Sugandi’s shop has been printing customers’ faces onto reusable face masks so that they can “look like themselves” when wearing it.
Each of the reusable masks takes around 30 minutes to produce, and cost 50,000 Indonesian rupiah ($3) each. The print shop has received hundreds of orders.
Wearing a face mask remains a mandatory practice across Indonesia.
In neighbouring Malaysia, textile designer Hafiz Drahman has utilised traditional designs from around the region to create colourful cloth masks with interchangeable filters.
In particular, Hafiz uses Batik, which is a traditional Javanese art that uses wax and ink to decorate cloth, and is derived from the Javanese word “titik,” meaning “dot”.
“So, as a designer, I saw that as an opportunity to use the cloth that I had, that is Batik textiles, and turn it into face masks,” Hafiz said from his workshop in Shah Alam, on the outskirts of capital Kuala Lumpur.
Although face masks are not compulsory in Malaysia, people are encouraged to wear them to protect themselves in public areas.
Hafiz currently sells his masks at 20 ringgits ($4.68) each.
Indonesia currently has 50,187 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,620 deaths, the highest total in Southeast Asia, while Malaysia has recorded 8,600 cases and 121 deaths as of Friday morning (June 26). (Reuters)
A huge forest fire in Ukraine that has been raging for more than a week is now just one kilometer from the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant and poses a radiation risk, Greenpeace Russia warned on Monday (April 13), citing satellite images.
Ukraine’s Emergency Situations Service said it was still fighting the fires, but that the situation was under control.
Aerial images of the 30 km (19 mile) exclusion zone around the plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986, showed scorched, blackened earth and the charred stumps of still smouldering trees.
The Emergency Situations Service said radiation levels in the exclusion zone had not changed and those in nearby Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, “did not exceed natural background levels.”
Greenpeace Russia said the situation is much worse than Ukrainian authorities believe, and that the fires cover an area one thousand times bigger than they claim.
On April 4 Ukrainian authorities said the blaze covered an area of 20 hectares, but Greenpeace cited satellite images showing it was around 12,000 hectares in size at that time.
“According to satellite images taken on Monday, the area of the largest fire has reached 34,400 hectares,” it said, adding that a second fire, stretching across 12,600 hectares, was just one kilometre away from the defunct plant.
Ukrainian officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on those claims.
Rashid Alimov, head of energy projects at Greenpeace Russia, said the fires, fanned by the wind, could disperse radionuclides, atoms that emit radiation.
“A fire approaching a nuclear or hazardous radiation facility is always a risk,” Alimov said. “In this case we’re hoping for rain tomorrow.”
Chernobyl tour operator Yaroslav Yemelianenko, writing on Facebook, described the situation as critical.
He said the fire was rapidly expanding and had reached the abandoned city of Pripyat, two kilometres from where “the most highly active radiation waste of the whole Chernobyl zone is located.” He called on officials to warn people of the danger.
Satellite images taken by NASA Worldview and seen by Reuters showed the two fires had extended far into the exclusion zone.
The fires, which follow unusually dry weather, began on April 3 in the western part of the exclusion zone and spread to nearby forests.
Police say they have identified a 27-year old local resident who they accuse of deliberately starting the blaze.
It remains unclear if the person, who has reportedly confessed to starting a number of fires “for fun,” is partly or fully responsible. (Reuters)
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