08 September 2015
The current episode of haze is the first after Indonesia ratified the ASEAN agreement to tackle haze pollution in 2014. It is also the first after Singapore’s Transboundary Haze Pollution Act 2014 came into effect. The region’s new battle plan against transboundary haze pollution is being put to the test.
With the onset of the El Nino season, forest fires in some Sumatran and Kalimantan provinces of Indonesia have generated thick clouds of haze across the Malacca Strait. Just within the past week, thick haze has paralysed airports in Pekanbaru, Batam, Kualanamu (Medan), Aceh, and Jambi, with incoming and outgoing flights getting delayed for hours or cancelled altogether.
Schools were also closed for days to allow school children to stay at home and minimise their exposure to the smog. Concurrently, the PSI readings in Singapore have worsened over the past few days. The recurrence of haze is expected although by no means acceptable. Haze incurs hefty costs on health and the economy, and it often strains Singapore-Indonesia relations.
… Margareth Sembiring is a Senior Analyst at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
NTS Centre / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 16/11/2015