ASEAN — The haze may return between June and October when the traditional dry season for Singapore and the southern ASEAN region is expected to occur, Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said.
Dr Balakrishnan said in a written reply to Nominated MP Nicholas Fang that weather conditions may be generally drier compared to the same period last year.
This is because 2011 was a La Nina year, whereas neutral conditions are expected to prevail during the dry season in 2012.
He said an increase in hotspot activities can be expected in the fire-prone regions of Sumatra and Kalimantan during extended periods of dry weather.
Depending on the direction of prevailing winds, Singapore may be affected by transboundary smoke haze.
Dr Balakrishnan said Singapore has actively promoted regional and international efforts to address the haze problem since 2006.
He said Singapore initiated the Sub-regional Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC) on Transboundary Haze Pollution comprising Environment Ministers and senior officials from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
Dr Balakrishnan said Singapore would continue to work with Indonesia and the rest of the international and regional community to enhance the region’s expertise and capacity in haze prevention.
But he said it was important for Indonesia to take strong enforcement actions against the perpetrators responsible for the land and forest fires and to bring them to task, as well as to enhance co-operation with ASEAN neighbours and the international community, in order to effectively tackle the transboundary haze problem.