Haze from Indonesia wildfires reaches Mindanao

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The wildfire smog in neighboring Indonesia has reached Mindanao, creating an atmospheric haze that alarmed residents and airline officials in Cagayan de Oro city.

Jose Bodiongan, the airport manager of the Laguindingan airport in Misamis Oriental said on Tuesday that an advise to conduct visual landing was issued Monday after the thick haze almost rendered a “zero visibility” situation in the area.

Luz Mercado, a weather specialist of state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the haze is caused by the smog of Indonesia’s wildfire which also continues to affect Singapore and Malaysia.

She said the southwesterly winds drove the smog toward Mindanao where the haze became visible in most parts of the island, particularly in the north and northeastern Mindanao regions.

Floriquita Gayo Dela Pena Dulfo, a high school principal in Bislig, Surigao Del Sur, reported on Monday that the smog became visible in the province, which caused concern among students.

Mercado said the smog and the haze could dissipate during rainfall because the smog comprises small particles that could be dissolved by rains.

The forest fire in Indonesia is caused by using the illegal slash-and-burn methods to make way for the palm oil and pulp and paper plantations in Sumatra and parts of Borneo.

Astronauts and scientist manning the International Space Station (ISS) could even see the visible traces of the smoke and smog created by these slash-and-burn methods in space.

The blazes have intensified in the past months, sending smog over Sumatra and Borneo that has left tens of thousands ill, forced people to wear face masks and prompted the cancellation of flights and school closures. (PNA)

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