Cover: Indonesian Fires and Haze

Indonesian Fires and Haze

Measuring the Health Consequences of Smoke Exposure

Published Jul 20, 2021

by Miriam E. Marlier, Jaime Madrigano, Alexandra Ntazinda, Nicholas E. Burger

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Fires in Indonesia contribute to severe air pollution, or haze, that causes public health, environmental, and economic degradation across Indonesia and across equatorial Asia. As populations around the world are facing increasing threats from fires, now is a critical time to better understand the connection between fire pollution and public health outcomes. In this report, the authors present preliminary analysis that explores the drivers of fire activity in Indonesia and quantifies health impacts of air pollution exposure using a local survey collected in districts located around the country. The report concludes with recommendations for future research directions that will improve understanding of the health consequences of haze exposure.

Key Findings

  • Characterizing population exposure to haze and resulting health consequences is challenging.
  • Better and more-frequent data to measure air pollution are necessary to examine the impact of pollution exposure on health outcomes.
  • Future research should investigate the association between exposure to particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter, from fires and other sources, and changes in cardiovascular disease biological markers.
  • Future research should also focus on vulnerable populations and collect more local health outcome data sets.
  • This research could provide additional information about the benefits of long-term conservation strategies and public heath interventions to reduce the health implications of haze exposure.

Research conducted by

This research was funded by the generous contributions of the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy (CAPP) Advisory Board and conducted by the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy within International Programs at the RAND Corporation.

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