DUST IN THE WIND
[Source: "Indonesian Fires Cloud Future of Southeast Asia," LA Times, 9/25/97]
"The sun has not been seen for days over large parts of Southeast Asia. People are coughing, rubbing their eyes, wearing masks, driving with their car lights on...."
"[S]till the fires that Indonesian companies initially set to clear the land for palm oil and plantations burn on, out of control now, engulfing more than 70 million people in a gray haze of thick pollutants...."
"[A] Western diplomat [said], 'People have terrible headaches. There's great fatigue. Last Friday, you could taste the air. It tasted like smoke and tar exhaust. My tongue felt oily.'"
"President Suharto of Indonesia [said], 'To the communities of neighboring countries who have been disturbed by the fires in our territory, Indonesia offers its most sincere apologies.'"
Andrew Steer, head of World Bank's environmental program: "... I think there's a positive spin on the fires. You can bet President Suharto doesn't want this kind of thing to happen again."
"For weeks, neither Indonesia nor Malaysia took any action to fight the fires. This week [they] announced that they will seed clouds in an attempt to induce rain. Authorities have said unusual conditions produced by El Niño may delay this year's start of monsoon rains for months."
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