SMOG (Kabut Asap)

Heavy smog from the burning of jungles.
This view is overlooking the Batanghari River in the City of Jambi. The picture was taken on Wednesday, September 26, 2012.

The dry season (musim kemarau) on Sumatra brings the challenge of having to endure the smoke from the burning of jungles. The first part of October is when the wet season starts.

Two Seasons on Sumatra

1.    Dry Season:  May-September

2.    Wet Season:  October-April

Typical masks that are commonly distributed free to the public.

Today’s headlines in the Jambi newspaper says: “55,000 Masks are Needed.” They want to distribute them free to people that are required to work outdoors. All others are advised to stay inside. A clean home is especially challenging to maintain this time of year, as ash comes in and creates a layer on all surfaces.

The smoke is quite heavy with visibility being less than 1 mile. This disrupts flights at the airport because planes need several miles visibility to land safely. We were on a flight last year and the pilot flew low, following the Batanghari River, so he could find the airport. (On September 27, 2012, the airport was closed the entire day due to smog.)

Another problem experienced during the dry season is that wells go dry. Many homes run out of water by the end of September. At this time our well is dangerously low. Air keeps gets into our plumbing and sometimes our pump has to run 15 minutes before any water comes out.

Putting masks on.

One final challenge to face: the open sewage is carried along by rains toward the creeks and then the Batanghari River. When there is little rain, the odor from the open sewers fills the city. It makes it very unpleasant when you have to breath the smog, and on top of that the sewage odor.

For tourists and visitors, we recommend they not come towards the end of the dry season, which is August & September. They should wait until the heavy rains have extinguished all the jungle fires.