Indonesia is unlikely to share in the near future maps which are necessary for a regional haze monitoring system.
The computer system developed by Singapore uses satellite images and hot-spot data to pinpoint fires that lead to haze. But it needs the concession maps to identify which firms are responsible for the land plots where the fires occur.
The Straits Times understands that Indonesia is not able to provide these maps as it is still putting together a larger-scale reference map which can be used to produce accurate concession maps or to verify existing ones.
The reference map is expected to be completed by the end of the year, an Indonesian official told reporters yesterday in Brunei, where delegates from five ASEAN countries have been meeting to discuss the haze issue.
Another Indonesian official said that the country is prohibited by law from sharing such concession maps in the first place.
Singapore's Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan is expected to discuss the concession maps with fellow ASEAN ministers today.
That is when he and ministers from Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand and Malaysia will attend the 16th Meeting of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution. The committee oversees moves to prevent haze from forest and other land fires in the five countries.
Yesterday's meeting, also in Brunei, was the 16th Meeting of the Technical Working Group, which National Environment Agency chief executive Ronnie Tay attended.
Last month, the Singapore Government said this year's haze could be worse than last year's record pollution, which saw the three-hour PSI in Singapore hit a hazardous 401 on June 21.
This is partly due to a weather phenomenon known as El Nino - linked to droughts in South-east Asia - that is expected to develop in the second half of the year.
This article was published on April 2 in The Straits Times.
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