Five ASEAN Countries To Discuss Forest Fire Air Pollution

Five ASEAN Countries To Discuss Forest Fire Air Pollution

11 October 2006

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Jakarta, Indonesia — Representatives from five member-nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will meet on October 13 to help Indonesia extinguish forest wires which have caused a choking smog across the region, Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Rirajuda said on Wednesday.

Forest fires that are raging in Indonesia have caused a choking haze that has spread into Malaysia and Singapore and has disrupted sea traffics in the Malacca Straits.

Wirajuda said the meeting will be held either in Singapore or Indonesia, but gave no further detail of talks.

The governments of Singapore and Malaysia have criticized Jakarta for not doing enough to solve the problem but Indonesia denies the accusation.

Forest fires have caused haze to become a perennial problem in Southeast Asia. The worst case happened in 1997-1998 when heavy smoke coming from Sumatra covered large parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and southern Thailand.

The haze was blamed for losses of an estimated $9 billion in business.


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