Thailand — Actions by Indonesia to control its haze problem have seen some effect. This was revealed on Thursday at the Sixth Meeting of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution held in Thailand.
The number of hotspots in the country has dropped to half the level seen two years ago.
And while open burning activities in Southeast Asia have increased, the level of haze has not gone up significantly – likely a result of efforts by countries to suppress the fires, and wetter than normal weather conditions.
Indeed, the region is likely to see average or above-average levels of rainfall over the next three months, according to the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC).
Progress has also been made in other fronts. Singapore and Indonesia are now finalising implementation details for co-operation in aquaculture and sustainable peatland management.
These come under the Jambi Master Plan, which deals with land and forest fires in the Indonesian province. It was first announced in November 2007.
By the end of 2008, Indonesia and Malaysia will roll out joint projects on the monitoring of air quality, rehabilitation of degraded peatlands, and zero burning techniques.
The ministerial steering committee will next meet in Brunei by May 2009 under the chairmanship of Malaysia, which takes over from Indonesia.
Separately, Brunei’s Development Minister Pehin Dato Abdullah Bakar will be in Singapore from October 24 to 25 under an annual exchange.
He will meet with Singapore’s Environment and Water Resources Minister, Yaacob Ibrahim, and discuss bilateral and regional environmental co-operation.