Haze crisis: ‘Singapore behaves like a child’, says Jakarta

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Singapore HazeSevere haze from raging forest fires on Sumatra island have not only put smog levels in Singapore to hazardous all-time highs but now also cast a shadow on Singapore-Jakarta ties.

After Singapore demanded ‘definitive action’ by Indonesia to quell the fires on June 18, Agung Laksono, the Indonesian minister in charge of the crisis, said “Singapore should not be behaving like a child and making all this noise” about the haze.

The fire is believed to be illegal burning of forest on Sumatra to clear land for palm oil plantations, which is a chronic problem, particularly during the June to September dry season.

Indonesian officials have also tried to deflect blame by suggesting companies based in Singapore may be partly to blame for the fires. However, the companies denied the allegations. Singapore has said it wants Indonesia to provide maps of land concessions so it can act against firms that allow slash-and-burn land clearing.

On June 20, Singapore’s pollution standards index (PSI) hit 371, breaking all previous records and prompting government health warnings. A PSI reading above 200 indicates “very unhealthy” air, while a PSI score above 300 is “hazardous”.

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Environment and Water Resources Minister, wrote on his Facebook wall that “Singaporeans have lost patience, and are understandably angry.”

 

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Severe haze from raging forest fires on Sumatra island have not only put smog levels in Singapore to hazardous all-time highs but now also cast a shadow on Singapore-Jakarta ties.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Singapore HazeSevere haze from raging forest fires on Sumatra island have not only put smog levels in Singapore to hazardous all-time highs but now also cast a shadow on Singapore-Jakarta ties.

After Singapore demanded ‘definitive action’ by Indonesia to quell the fires on June 18, Agung Laksono, the Indonesian minister in charge of the crisis, said “Singapore should not be behaving like a child and making all this noise” about the haze.

The fire is believed to be illegal burning of forest on Sumatra to clear land for palm oil plantations, which is a chronic problem, particularly during the June to September dry season.

Indonesian officials have also tried to deflect blame by suggesting companies based in Singapore may be partly to blame for the fires. However, the companies denied the allegations. Singapore has said it wants Indonesia to provide maps of land concessions so it can act against firms that allow slash-and-burn land clearing.

On June 20, Singapore’s pollution standards index (PSI) hit 371, breaking all previous records and prompting government health warnings. A PSI reading above 200 indicates “very unhealthy” air, while a PSI score above 300 is “hazardous”.

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Environment and Water Resources Minister, wrote on his Facebook wall that “Singaporeans have lost patience, and are understandably angry.”

 

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