The haze might be caused by the clearing of land in Indonesia and Malaysia, but Singaporeans can still play a role in helping to thin the murky veil that shrouds the Republic every year.
Consumers can do their part in various ways, for instance, by purchasing timber products sourced only from sustainable forests, or by investing in companies that do not burn land.
This is the call to action made by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA), which has organised a first-of-its-kind haze exhibition here.
"Singaporeans can make an impact," said SIIA deputy director and fellow for ASEAN business and sustainable development Chua Chin Wei. He noted that "rewarding companies that do not burn land" would help motivate the agroforestry industry to be more responsible and sustainable.
Visitors to the exhibition at VivoCity can gain fresh insights into these issues, including the importance of checking for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) eco-label when buying furniture, paper or other wood products. The label shows the product can be traced to a sustainably managed forest.
The event, which will run from today until Sunday, has brought together 10 agroforestry companies, including Wilmar and paper firm Asia Pacific Resources International, and 20 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to address questions from the public.
Mr Kim Stengert, the director for communications at the World Wide Fund for Nature Singapore (WWF-Singapore), one of the participating NGOs, said: "WWF wants to drive home the message to consumers to put pressure on companies to carry the FSC or Certified Sustainable Palm Oil eco-labels, to ensure their products that use paper, pulp or palm oil do not contribute to unsustainable forest practices."
The causes that have brought about the haze and the actions that can be taken to combat the perennial problem are being highlighted as well during the three-day event.
Visitors can check out text and multimedia displays, as well as the peat soil exhibit, which highlights the problem of peat fires. Such fires - which can burn for months or even years, and emit high levels of carbon dioxide - are largely behind the choking haze that is dogging the region.
National University of Singapore undergraduate Joys Tan says she knows about what causes haze but wants to know more about "how the individual can help to reduce it".
This article was first published on Nov 7, 2014.
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