Singapore—Who is to blame for the haze problem depends on who you’re talking to. Indonesia’s Environment Minister says the smoke responsible for the haze is from Malaysia, while her counterpart in Malaysia said, in response, that she “should not be in denial.”
On Tuesday, September 10, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, the Environment and Forestry Minister of Indonesia is quoted as saying,
“The smoke that entered Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, is from Sarawak and from Peninsular Malaysia, and also maybe some from West Kalimantan.
The Malaysian government should explain this objectively.”
Furthermore, she also said that the haze threat to Singapore can also be attributed to Malaysia. She refuted the claim that haze travelled from Riau, Indonesia, to Singapore.
“Not true, there is no smog crossing over to Singapore from Riau. Hot spots in Riau have dropped.”
In response to the Indonesian Minister’s words, Yeo Bee Yin, Malaysia’s Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change Minister took to Facebook to debunk her claims, and wrote,
“In response to: https://www.straitstimes.com/…/indonesia-says-its-not-to-bl…
Let the data speak for itself.
1. The lastest data on the total number of hotspots recorded by ASEAN Specialized Metrological Center (ASMC) : Kalimantan (474), Sumatera (387) vs Malaysia (7).
2. As for her claim that the haze is from Sarawak, just look at the wind direction. (Image 4). How is it logically possible?
Link here: http://asmc.asean.org/home/
Minister Siti Nurbaya should not be in denial.”
Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) said on September 10, Tuesday, that if the haze in Sumatra worsens, it is possible that the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) in the country may enter the unhealthy range.
The number of hotspots in Sumatra have continued to rise. On Monday, there were 380 hotspots detected, whereas there were already 537 on the following day. The NEA said, “Moderate to dense smoke haze continued to emanate from persistent hotspots in Riau and Jambi provinces.”
In Kalimantan, 749 additional hotspots have been identified as well.
Sumatra and Kalimantan have endured numerous forest fires over the last weeks, which thousands Indonesian police and military have been endeavoring to put out.
In Sumatra, people have been fervently praying for rain to stop the fires. According to deputy provincial governor Edy Nasution, “We’re doing everything we can, now we pray to Allah for the rain.”
Smoke from the forest fires have affected neighboring countries, which may now include the Philippines, as areas in its Palawan province are now reporting haze.
Malaysia’s air quality has already been classified as “unhealthy” based on its PSI, especially around the Kuala Lumpur area. The country’s skyline has been enveloped in dense smog.
This had affected Malaysia’s school system as well, with about 400 schools closed in Sarawak on September 10 and over 150,000 students affected by the closures, according to the local department of education.
However, BMKG, Indonesia’s climate bureau disagreed that the smog in Singapore and Malaysia came from the country, pointing out that there are forest fires in Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, East Timor and Thailand as well./ TISG