Get to the root of the haze issue

So far, we have been tackling the symptoms of the haze issue but not the source ("Being clear-eyed about haze laws"; March 3).

Legislation can act as a deterrent but it has limited effectiveness - recalcitrants can still find loopholes and other ways to beat the law.

Intensifying efforts to educate farmers on appropriate farming techniques is a good idea, but they may not practise what they have been taught. As long as there is high demand for their products, they may return to their familiar slash-and-burn ways.

A more sustainable solution is to strengthen pressure points throughout the industry's value chain. We can exercise our rights as consumers to support only vendors that adhere to a no-burning policy and who use raw materials produced from responsible farming practices.

On the trans-border level, a more concerted effort is needed to get politicians and the public and private sectors involved, and to make it mandatory for businesses to provide sustainability reports. These reports must be supported by evidence that the firms are not involved in environmentally harmful practices.

We should also explore a "name and shame" database of recalcitrant groups, and take them to task with all the resources available to us.

Patrick Liew

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