Slash and Burn in Laos

The road between Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng and vice versa, that’s about 250km through the mountains, is safe since a few years. Before it was still usual that a soldier with a machine gun was placed on the rear bench for protection in case of a raid. Now the soldier is no more accompaniing the busses. More and more traffic is on the road. The road itself is not the worst, but narrow, mostly serpentines and shows many pothols and parts who are very bad or under construction.

Really remarkable is that it leads through a huge mountain scenery which is/was almost completely covered with forests. And these forests burn every year in the dry season from February to May. The smog in the air is incredible, one wouldn’t believe it if not experienced by oneself. Everywhere to the right and the left are black slopes as the result of the slash-and-burn activities or there are open fires. The local people burn anything, including plastic waste, although there is still too much litter around the hamlets one is passing by.

The sight, in other parts of the year clear and far reaching over a really impressing green mountain scenery in which not a trace of human impact is to see (with the bare eye, in fact there are many impacts) is now short and most of the mountains disappear behind the smoke like in dense fog.

Read the whole article on ‘Air Pollution in the Golden Triangle and around‘…

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