We need to exert commercial pressure against companies causing the haze – Mr Vivian Balakrishnan

  Lee Hsien Loong

(PM Lee Hsien Loong)

Sharing a photo of the haze taken from Istana. The city in the distance is barely visible.

We are all affected by the haze. Farmers and plantation owners in Sumatra are burning crops to clear land in the dry season, and unfortunately the winds are blowing the smoke all the way to Singapore. Ministers Vivian and Shanmugam have called their Indonesian counterparts to register our serious concerns and offer our help to fight the fires.

We are monitoring the situation closely and will stay in close touch with the Indonesian authorities. Meanwhile, please stay indoors whenever you can, especially children, seniors and those prone to respiratory problems. And do monitor NEA’s website (or use their myEnv app) for the latest updates. – LHL

Link to NEA : http://app2.nea.gov.sg/corporate-functions/newsroom/advisories/update-on-haze-situation-17June2013

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   Vivian Balakrishnan

(Mr Vivian Balakrishnan)

We need to exert commercial pressure against companies causing the haze.

I just spoke to Indonesian Minister Balthasar Kambuaya. Expressed our deep distress with the situation. This is the worst in 7 years – and has practically become a permanent fixture every year.

I suggested Minister Kambuaya name the companies responsible for the fires – (as I am sure consumers will know what to do).

We are also waiting for Indonesia to publish the concession maps. The combination of satellite photos, which are updated daily, and these concession maps would enable us to pin point the errant companies.

I also offered the assistance of the Singapore government – and he said he would revert after his team assesses the situation on the ground.

In the meantime, young children, seniors and people with respiratory or cardiac problems should take precautions, avoid outdoor activities and consult their doctors early if there are any symptoms. Let us continue to look out for each other.

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   K Shanmugam Sc

(Mr K Shanmugam Sc)

I spoke twice today with my Indonesian counterpart, Dr Marty Natalegawa, to register our concerns about the worsening haze situation, and that the PSI had crossed into the unhealthy range. 

I stressed to Pak Marty, the urgency of the situation and reiterated Singapore’s commitment to assist Indonesia with its fire-fighting efforts.

Pak Marty has discussed the issue with his Indonesian Cabinet colleagues to get the agencies to share information. This will help to better monitor the hotspots and land clearing activities.

We agreed that officials on both sides should meet soon to discuss how best to combat the haze issue.

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  Irene Ng

(Ms Irene Ng)

Indonesia is being quite disingenuous to try shift the blame for the haze to other countries like Singapore and Malaysia. It is up to Indonesia to prosecute commercial companies, regardless of ownership, which cause transboundary haze pollution. 

All ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, already have domestic legislation which prohibits the use of fire for forest clearance in their own countries. The local authorities must enforce it. There are currently no legal sanctions which Singapore can apply against plantation companies whose extra-territorial actions affect our local environment. 
What Singaporeans can do is to apply commercial pressure by boycotting products that come from these companies in Indonesia responsible for the land and forest fires, and to demand for products that come from sustainable sources. It should not matter the ownership of the companies. Then perhaps Indonesia will learn that we mean business.
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Health Tips for the Hazy Weather:- Drink more water to stay hydrated
– Stay indoors if possible, and use an air purifier to improve air quality
– Boost your immunity by eating more vegetables and fruits, fish and nuts
– Wash your face and hands with soap regularly
– Carry eye drops, tissues and a water bottle in your bag!Hope you find our tips useful to combat the Haze

Ministry of Education, Singapore
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