Why naming, shaming might help fight haze

Why naming, shaming might help fight haze

SINGAPORE - Singapore, the clean and green garden city, turned hazy and grey this week when winds blew in the thick smog caused by more than 100 hot spots over Sumatra.

The haze that enveloped the Republic was the worst in history, hitting a record of 371 on the Pollutant Standards Index yesterday, curtailing outdoor activities across the island.

Indonesian officials say the huge tracts of land around the coastal city of Dumai - located on the coast of the Strait of Malacca that faces Singapore - have caught fire due to the early hot season.

Farmers are also using their 'slash and burn' methods to clear plantations - an established practice for many smallholder farmers who regard it was the easiest, low-cost method although with exacting environment and public health costs.

Such a phenomenon is not rare in this part of the world, which has been plagued by transboundary haze pollution for many years, although the seriousness of the haze varies from year to year.

As the haze worsened, Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan had tougher words for Indonesia.

"No country or corporation has the right to pollute the air at the expense of Singaporeans' health and wellbeing," he wrote on Wednesday night.

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