Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Singapore haze; Indonesia forest slash-n-burn

Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly; Rujun Shen from Singapore (, 5-21-14)
Smoke haze obscures building under construction, Singapore March 2014 (Tim Wimborne)
Singapore braces for worst smoke "haze" as Indonesia slashes-and-burns forests
Singapore is approaching its yearly "haze" [dense air pollution] season, when smoke from forest clearing in Indonesia chokes the air, with this year likely to be worse than 2013's record pollution thanks to lack of action in Jakarta and an expected El Nino weather pattern.

The prosperous city-state, which prides itself on its clean air, was shrouded in heavy smog from slash-and-burn clearances on the neighbouring Indonesian island of Sumatra last June which sent its air pollution index to a record high.

Is America better than Asia about polluting?
One year on, and an election-distracted government in Indonesia has still not ratified the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 2002 Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, and fires continue to burn in Sumatra.

That is despite outrage in Singapore as well as environmental groups putting pressure on Jakarta. Fires are used to clear land on plantations and can burn for weeks because of peat deposits below the surface.

There is also a growing likelihood of an El Nino weather pattern this year, meaning Singapore, as well as parts of Indonesia and Malaysia, could be set for months of intense haze with a knock-on effect on health and business, especially tourism. More

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