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Malaysia urges Indonesia to ratify cross-border haze pact KUALA LUMPUR (MALAYSIA) - Malaysia urged Indonesia to quickly ratify an agreement that would facilitate a regional response to smokey haze in Southeast Asia caused by brush fires on the sprawling archipelago, a news report said Sunday. Indonesia is the only country among the 10 member-Association of Southeast Asian Nations that hasn't ratified the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, which the grouping approved in 2002.

The agreement would result in the establishment of a regional coordinating center, which could react quickly to the haze caused mostly by farmers and plantation owners in Indonesia who practice slash-and-burn agricultural methods. Severe haze has blanketed both countries as well as in Singapore in recent days, sending air pollution indexes to unhealthy levels in some areas.

"Only when Indonesia ratifies this agreement can member countries set up (the) center so that prevention and extinguishing of fires can be done easily," Malaysian Environment Minister Azmi Khalid told the Sunday Star newspaper. Azmi said Malaysia doesn't know why Indonesia was "dragging its feet" over the agreement. Azmi urged Indonesia to prosecute any plantation company or farmers found responsible for lighting brush fires. "We implore Indonesia to impose the most severe penalties under their law to anyone found guilty," he said.

Environment Ministry officials could not be reached Sunday for comment. According to the Department of Environment, the haze situation improved Sunday with only six of Malaysia's 51 monitoring stations recording unhealthy air quality, compared to 21 on Saturday. The highest reading of 141 was registered in the southern city of Johor Bahru, near Singapore. The official Air Pollutant Index designates readings of above 100 as unhealthy. ASEAN includes Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia.


Link to related event Related event:
Forest fires

Related blog entries (category 'Forest fires') Related blog entries (category 'Forest fires'):
08 October 2006 · Air quality in Singapore improves after PSI hit high of 150
06 October 2006 · Haze brings misery, health problems in Indonesia
05 October 2006 · Indonesia haze worsens, airplanes warned
03 October 2006 · Illegal forest fires blanket Indonesia and neighbors
02 October 2006 · Thick smog in Jambi province uncontrollable


Posted in Forest fires @ 08 October 2006 13:59 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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