News / Asia

Singapore, Malaysia Choke as Illegal Indonesia Forest Fires Rage

Malaysian landmark Putra Perdana in Putrajaya is seen shrouded by haze from forest fires raging across Indonesia, (File photo).
Malaysian landmark Putra Perdana in Putrajaya is seen shrouded by haze from forest fires raging across Indonesia, (File photo).
Reuters
— Air pollution in Singapore and Malaysia rose to unhealthy levels on Monday thanks to illegal forest clearing in Indonesia, prompting Singapore to advise people against staying outdoors for long and to urge Indonesia to do something to stop it.
 
In usually clear Singapore, the pollutant standards index hit the highest level in nearly seven years, with the taste of smoke hitting the back of the throat even in air-conditioned offices and the subway.
 
“Given the current hazy conditions, it is advised that children, the elderly and those with heart or lung diseases reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor activities,'' Singapore's National Environment Agency said in a statement.
 
“Everyone else should limit prolonged or heavy outdoor activities.''
 
The agency said the haze was caused by forest fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and that it was expected to last for a few days.
 
It said it had “urged the Indonesian authorities to look into urgent measures to mitigate the transboundary haze occurrence''.
 
In Malaysia, the air quality reached unhealthy levels in several northeastern states as well as the southern state of Malacca, a UNESCO heritage site popular with tourists, the country's Department of Environment said.
 
The illegal clearing of forests by burning is a recurrent problem in Indonesia, particularly during the annual dry season that typically stretches from June to September.
 
In 1997 and 1998, the smog disrupted air and sea traffic, causing an estimated $9 billion in terms of economic, social and environmental losses, according to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a 10-member regional grouping that includes Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
 
ASEAN members signed an agreement on transboundary haze pollution in June 2002 but Indonesia has yet to ratify the agreement.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid