NEA CEO voices concern over spike in hotspots count

NEA CEO voices concern over spike in hotspots count

SINGAPORE - The National Environment Agency, NEA, has voiced concern over the sudden spike in hotspot counts in Sumatra.

A press statement released by NEA said Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ronnie Tay, wrote to Indonesia's officials to register Singapore's concerns over the matter.

He spoke to Deputy Minister for Environmental Degradation Control & Climate Change, Mr Arief Yuwono, and extended Singapore's support and assistance to Indonesia's efforts to prevent the haze situation from recurring.

Mr Tay also made a call to Indonesian Deputy Minister for Environment and Social Vulnerability, Coordinating Ministry for People's Welfare, Mr Willem Rampangilei, to convey the same points.

There has been a marked increase in the number of hotspots in Sumatra in the last two days, with 261 and 252 hotspot counts on 21 and 22 July 2013 respectively.

Mr Tay expressed Singapore's concerns that the region will once again be shrouded by smoke haze if the hotspots in Sumatra continue to remain high.

He asked for an urgent update of Indonesia's fire-tackling efforts and urged the country to take immediate action.

?Deputy Minister Rampangilei said there has been new sporadic burning, but he assured Mr Tay the Indonesian government is monitoring the situation and taking various actions on the ground to suppress the fires, such as cloud seeding and water bombing efforts.

Law enforcement and socialisation efforts on the ground have also been strengthened, and the deployment of additional police and troops to the Riau area will be considered urgently in a high level inter-agency meeting.

NEA will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with our Indonesian counterparts on the transboundary haze issue.

NEA has also advised the interim ASEAN Coordinating Centre through the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre that Alert Level 3 for Sumatra has been activated.

NEA said that as at 4pm today, the 24-hr PSI is 27-35 and the 24-hr PM2.5 is 16-19 µg/m3.

A total of 252 hotspots were detected in Sumatra today, with 167 in Riau province.

Dense smoke plumes were seen from some of the hotspots.

Air quality in some parts of the Malaysian states of Selangor and Malacca continue to be at unhealthy levels.

Singapore could experience slight haziness on Tuesday, 23 July 2013.

cynloh@sph.com.sg

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