Singapore clamps down on five firms over haze

“Classes were suspended, business halted operations and many people’s daily activities were disturbed because of the haze. Masks were sold out so some weren’t able to protect themselves. Indeed, not only the daily activities were affected but health is the most critical issue that wer are dealing here.”

 

The Singapore skyline obscured by the haze in the Marina Bay area on Sept 22, 2015.

In its toughest anti-haze measure yet, Singapore has begun legal action against five companies it believes are among the culprits behind Indonesia’s polluting fires.

It has also slammed statements from Indonesian officials over the crisis that forced the Republic to close schools yesterday when air quality became hazardous.

Naming the firms for the first time yesterday, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan stressed that the haze was a man-made problem that should not be tolerated. “Ultimately, errant companies must know that there is a price to be paid for damaging our health, environment and economy,” he said.

Haze levels here peaked at a 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reading of 267 to 322 at 8am yesterday. They improved slightly later but remained very unhealthy. The three-hour PSI showed greater fluctuations – hitting 341 at 5am and dropping to 80 at 2pm, before rising again to 154 at 9pm.

Unhealthy haze pollution – when the 24-hour PSI is over 100 for at least 24 hours – has occurred four times since Sept 10.

The National Environment Agency (NEA), which has been gathering evidence by monitoring hot spots, smoke plumes, maps, meteorological data and satellite images, yesterday served Singapore-listed firm Asia Pulp and Paper a legal notice to supply information on its subsidiaries in Singapore and Indonesia, as well as measures taken …

 

Read more: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/environment/spore-clamps-down-on-five-firms-over-haze