Join Action To Tackle Transboundary Haze

Join Action To Tackle Transboundary Haze

2 March 2007

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Brunei, Southeast Asia — Collective and individual measures by Asean membercountries to tackle the transboundary haze pollution were the focal point ofdiscussions in the 12th Asean Ministerial Meeting on Haze (AMMH) held yesterdayat The Empire Hotel and Country Club.

Preventive, monitoring and mitigation measures were discussed in the closedsession, which also heard each Asean country’s National Haze Action Plans aswell as collective efforts by the region to prepare for “future hazeepisodes”, according to an official statement.

Chaired by Minister of Development Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato SeriSetia Awg Hj Abdullah, the AMMH also reviewed latest regional weather conditionspresently and in the months to come.

In addition, issues and preparations for the Second Meeting of the Conferenceof Parties to the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, or COP, wereconsidered. The COP, which takes place today, will finalise details of the Aseanhaze fund. It will also plan for the establishment of the Asean CoordinatingCentre for the Transboundary Haze Pollution Control.

The establishment of the centre was put forward in the Asean Haze Agreementto facilitate cooperation and coordination in managing the impact of land andforest fires iii particular haze pollution arising from such fires.

Currently, these are shared between the Asean Senior Officials on theEnvironment

Haze Technical Task; the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre and theAsean Secretariat.

Transboundary haze pollution, more commonly known as smoke haze or simplyhaze, 4 as been mainly caused by seasonal land-clearing activities in Indonesia,particularly on Sumatra Island and in Borneo’s Kalimantan.

During the worst haze episode of 1997-1998, transboundary haze causedUS$1,’396 billion worth of damages to affected Southeast Asian countries,according to a 2004 paper on international environmental governance. Added tothe figure the costs of fire damage, the total cost were at US$4.70 billion.

Other damages included transportation accidents due to poor visibility causedby haze, as well as haze-related ailments.

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