09 November 2015
As the ASEAN Summit approaches, we explore a set of integrated solutions, which if implemented with full commitment and vigour, can progressively minimise by 2020 severe crises of transboundary haze pollution such as being experienced now.
The current smoke haze crisis that has battered a major part of the southern ASEAN region over the last two months is showing signs of abating. Along with the disappearing haze, it is hoped that the rapt attention, passion, anger, commitment and resolve demonstrated by all parties, especially governments, will not just vanish, only to surface again during the next haze episode.
Promises and commitment have been made. The Indonesian president has asked for three years to resolve the issue. The Malaysian prime minister has made an appeal to a gathering of chief science advisors at their recent APEC meeting to propose science-based solutions to resolve the haze issue which has plagued the region for the past 18 years. However, any solution will only work if it addresses the root causes that generate uncontrolled fires, spanning macro-planning – economic, social, development, and land use – to work on the ground involving large and medium plantation and agriculture concession holders, small holders, and communities. Hence it is just not enough to react only when fires flare up.
… Raman Letchumanan is a Senior Fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. The views expressed are strictly his own. Dr Raman was the person-in-charge of fire and haze issues, among others, at the ASEAN Secretariat from 2000-2014, and prior to that in the Malaysian Government. This is the first in a new series on the haze issue.
NTS Centre / Online
Last updated on 13/11/2015