Not act of nature but man-made: NEA chief

Not act of nature but man-made: NEA chief
An aerial view of haze shrouding Riau on Thursday. Indonesia is investigating which companies are responsible for the fires.

INDONESIA - The haze triggered by fires raging across Sumatra is not an act of nature, but man-made, National Environment Agency (NEA) chief executive Andrew Tan said on Thursday.

Hence, Indonesia needs to take more decisive action against errant companies, Mr Tan told The Straits Times, echoing remarks he made at a two-hour meeting held here on Thursday afternoon between Singapore officials and their Indonesian counterparts.

Singapore, he added, could work together with Indonesia to map its satellite images of hot spots onto land concession maps of affected areas in Sumatra, and track those responsible.

"I urged Indonesia to take more decisive action, because the situation is likely to deteriorate in the next few weeks and at the onset of the dry season if no further efforts are taken," he said.

"We registered that given the weather conditions, the burning actions are man-made and therefore can and should be averted. We pressed them to take our concerns seriously."

The emergency meeting at Indonesia's Foreign Ministry followed telephone calls between foreign and environment ministers from both countries on Tuesday. In addition, Singapore's Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishman was due to travel to Jakarta on Friday (June 21).

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