Singapore — SINGAPORE will continue to use all available channels to urge the Indonesian government to tackle the haze problem, Foreign Minister George Yeo and Environment and Water Resources Minister Yaacob Ibrahim assured Parliament yesterday.
Mr Yeo said Indonesia stood to gain the most from eradicating the haze. When the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hits the unhealthy level of 100 here, parts of Indonesia would be experiencing far more hazardous levels of between 200 and 300. ‘The most interested party in solving the haze problem is Indonesia itself, because millions of its own people are affected,’ he said.
Last month, fires in Indonesia caused hazy conditions over Singapore, with the PSI climbing above 100 for the first time since 2006.
Dr Yaacob said the haze onset was short this year and its impact ‘minimal’. But Singapore continued to engage Indonesia on the issue. Singapore offers firefighting assistance to Indonesia. It also works with regional countries through a Ministerial Steering Committee to monitor hot spots.
Mr Yeo said Singapore would raise the issue with international groups like the United Nations and the World Health Organisation when it is ‘necessary and helpful’ to do so.
Bilaterally, Singapore is in close collaboration with the central and provincial authorities in Indonesia. For example, programmes in Jambi province initiated by Singapore to fight fire and promote sustainable land-farming practices have kept the number of hot spots there low.