November 11, 2015, by International students
#FreedomToBreathe: Campaign for Indonesia’s smoke disaster
Recently, there was a huge forest fire in Indonesia. It happened on some of the big islands in Indonesia such as Borneo, Sumatera, Nusa Tenggara and many more.
Several years ago, these fires became an issue in Indonesia, but not as huge as this time. It is a huge problem because the smoke is starting to spread nearly everywhere, not only regions around the fire, but it is also reaching other provinces and even islands due to the size and the long dry season. The blue sky started to become covered by the grey smoke from the fire.
It is really sad to see that many people have been affected by this situation. There are so many people who cannot consume fresh air, there are also some children who can’t cope with the smoke and this makes them suffer from upper respiratory tract infections, which many of them do not survive. This fire also made the animals in the forest suffer; even some of Indonesia’s endangered species, such as orangutans who live in the forest, got injured.
As Indonesians, we are really hurt by this disaster that is happening in our country. Therefore, in order to raise social awareness and help those who are suffering from this smoke disaster, Indonesian students in The University of Nottingham come up with the #freedomtobreathe and #MerdekaTanpaAsap hashtag campaign. Since 27 October 2015, we have been promoting awareness by posting photos on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Path, and Twitter of ourselves covering our noses with our hands as if we cannot breathe comfortably. This campaign has already inspired many people from around the world to post their photos, and shows that so many people care for the victims. Some of the pictures show how terrible the conditions are in the middle of the smoke.
This campaign is initiated by Ovindra El Rachmalisa, Indonesian student of Sustainable Urban Design MSc in School of Architecture, University of Nottingham. We invite everyone to join this campaign in order to raise the awareness of this disaster so that it can be stopped.
If you are curious about what Indonesia is going through, you can see by yourself via this video on YouTube. We hope that more people will become aware of this disaster. This is one of our efforts for supporting our country even though we are miles away from our beloved Indonesia.
Marizsa Herlina, an international student from Indonesia studying MSc Economics and Econometrics at The University of Nottingham.