The Psychological Effects of Haze and Preventive Measures in Islam
The haze climate and phenomenon is not something unfamiliar to all Malaysians since it has become an annual event for the country. We also know that the haze phenomenon is something external that is, it does not come from any internal activity but rather from outside the country. This is to suggest that the haze situation we are now facing is due to the risky activities of others and we are the victims. This pattern of stereotypic mentality has been hypnotically bombarded along the way throughout our lives. Finally, we blame others and other countries and therefore we do not learn, and at the same time being negligent of our own responsibilities in relation to haze situation. However, we are lucky because we have other people to guide and teach us how to act and behave during this situation. We believe that this should always be the way since we are the victims.
Looking at the situation, we become aware of what haze really is and most importantly, what we can learn from the situation. In fact, this is the kind of learning activity that Islam promotes. Islam always promote that mankind learn and take some benefit in order to finally build a better future for the world. There is nothing else we can learn from this situation except that Islam always encourages mankind to be just as kind and good to the environment. The Prophet Muhammad SAW once said in a hadith narrated by Imam Muslim meaning that..the world is green and pleasant, and God has put it under your charge to see how you will manage…
No doubt some of us only know about haze in our adult years and have never heard or experienced it during childhood. When someone is not exposed to it, then psychologically they do not know how to deal with it, and they do not even know how the problem happens in the first place. This is not something bad, since they can make some research, learn and teach the younger generation on how to deal with haze and anything that relates to climatic changes.
As we understand, haze is a form of environmental pollution related to the air quality that we breathe. The air quality becomes so dangerous and human visibility becomes so limited to the point that this would result in health hazard and even lead to mortality. Amongst the physical symptoms of haze include respiratory problems such as asthma, chronic coughing, breathing difficulties, and other heart related complications, conjunctivitis, skin reactions, and so on. It has been recorded that during the haze situation, the number of hospital admission due to chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and the related disease increased compared to non-haze situation.
Furthermore, haze might also complicate a person’s psychological wellbeing and this is one aspect that majority of us are unaware of, it contributes to the mental health status and wellbeing of individuals significantly. Research has been done to study and determine how and why haze might inflict psychological wellbeing. Surely there are many underlying contributing factors behind it, but research found that haze itself is so crippling and hazardous and it limits individuals’ productivity and social interaction. Limited social interaction and activity along with the crippling physical deteriorations due to haze might increase the level of acute anxiety and depression. The inflicted individuals might be experiencing downward spiral of negative emotions such as sadness and apprehensiveness, nervousness and shock, lethargy and sleepiness, disturbed cognitive functioning and so on that requires medical attention.
In reality, haze hazard too is comparable to other environmental calamities such as storm, flood and earthquakes that leads to trauma physically and emotionally and even ends with unintended death. Rationally, this is all due to negligence or lack of knowledge and information. Negligence is one aspect of environmental hazard and calamity, not doing anything to preserve nature and conserve environment is another aspect, upon which enough information and resources are readily available. That is why Islam comes with the objective of educating human on the importance of preserving the environment for sense of security, wellness and survival. But as human, we tend to forget and our mind always go awry. However, thanks to the practice of tazkirah or reminder as taught by Islamic teaching, Muslims are always kept in check. Similarly, environmental enforcement by agencies of authority should act the same way, and not be reactive on the basis of periodical and seasonal timelines.