18 December 2014
The people of Asean have been enduring choking haze – primarily smoke from wild fires – for the past two decades. Despite effort, promises, and action, the haze pollution has only worsened. However, the publicity surrounding newly-elected Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s recent visit to Riau Province, where most of the transboundary haze originates, hopefully points to a change for the better.
The President said: “For the past 17 years, forest fires are due to the practice of negligence and complacency. This is simply just an issue of whether we want to or not, whether we intend to or not … to solve the problem.” But if it was that simple, why were his predecessors not able to pull it off?
… This article was written by Raman Letchumanan, Senior Fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. Dr Raman was the person-in-charge of fire and haze issues at the Asean Secretariat for 14 years, and prior to that in the Malaysian Government. The article was originally published on RSIS online and reproduced here with their kind permission.
NTS Centre / Online
Last updated on 27/01/2016