Smog alarm: Singapore’s index surges past 400, Johor still hazardous

Smog alarm: Singapore’s index surges past 400, Johor still hazardous

Update: At 2.00pm, Singapore’s 3-hour PSI reading dipped to 245, still at a very unhealthy level.

Not looking good: Singapore’s 3-hour PSI index has soared to an alarming 401 at noon, while Kota Tinggi (314) and Pasir Gudang (323) in Johor were also at hazardous levels an hour earlier.

“Many people are not working here now, and streets are empty. My white tiles are all dark brown!” said a Singaporean tutor.

Malacca city was still blanketed with a very unhealthy 205 smog.

It is surely time to examine in detail which are the plantation companies and smallholders responsible for the burning in Sumatra and their countries of origin, so that appropriate legal action can be taken in their home countries.

We have to be vigilant about the environment and look out for the culprits, many of them corporations. What they do in our country (e.g. chopping down trees or spewing toxic emissions) may have an impact in other countries, or even globally (e.g. global warming, climate change).

Our lack of vigilance and apathy will come back to haunt us with a vengeance when we least expect it.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Tung Lang. Thanks. I was really fed up with this unending problem. However I wouldn’t wish calamities on them. Please remember, the culprits are the corrupt politicians and greedy businessman. Most ordinary folks in Sumatra are also victims. :) And it looks like NGO’s in Indonesia are fighting a good fights as well.

     
    • Malaysia’s Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel is headed to Indonesia on Wednesday to meet Balthasar. Underscoring the urgency of the issue is the fact that Palanivel is leaving Malaysia just two days after the first sitting of the 13th Parliament tomorrow.
      He is expected to try to cobble out a pact with the Indonesians on what to about the haze.
      But it appears the talks will also include the 8 companies that are owned by Malaysian investors.
      One of them is PT Tunggal Mitra Plantation, a unit of Minamas Plantation, a subsidiary of Malaysia-based Sime Darby Plantations, one of the world’s largest listed oil palm plantations.
      Another is PT Adei Plantation, owned by Kepong Berhad.
      The others are PT Langgam Inti Hibrida, PT Bumi Reksa Nusa Sejati, PT Udaya Loh Denawi, PT Jatim Jaya Perkasa, PT Multi Gambut Industri, and PT Mustika Agro Lestari.
      Plantation companies have often ordered local people to burn forest or peatland near their concessions, hoping that the fire will spread onto their land.
      “Once the fire takes hold of their concessions, the companies shift the blame onto the local residents as if the fire had accidentally and spread to their land,” Balthasar was reported to have said by the Jakarta Post. – June 23, 2013. The MalaysianInsider.

      More than just big corporations, the locals have a hand in this burning affairs for the love of easy money than healthy environment. BTW, Nature’s retaliation has no discrimination when it comes to calamities.

       
  2. Stop using Palm Oil cooking oil for a start. The haze seems to be an annual affair and should be “celebrated” as the Annual Asean Haze Festival” Can assure you all these companies will state that they practise sustainable practises….

     
  3. Latest update:

    Indonesia’s environment minister said 8 domestic firms were suspected of being responsible for the blazes on Sumatra island that blanketed neighbouring Singapore in record levels of hazardous smog. The parent companies of the Indonesian firms included Malaysia-listed Sime Darby and Singapore’s Wilmar Group.

    A senior presidential aide on Friday also blamed units of Jakarta-based PT Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology (SMART) and Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL) for the fires.

    Under Indonesian law, any company or person proven to be involved in an illegal forest fire could face up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to 5 billion rupiah.

    Sime Darby and APRIL said there were no fires in any of their operating areas in Indonesia.

    SMART and Wilmar said they both had a “zero burning” policy and that most, if not all, the fires raging in and near their concessions were caused by the local community.

    Source:
    http://sg.news.yahoo.com/indonesia-fights-fires-faces-ire-smog-blankets-singapore-044145262.html

     
  4. The Singapore Environment Minister has already flown to Jakarta to add pressure to the Indonesian government. However, But our Environment Minister Palanivel is still sleeping on the job and will only meet the Indonesia counterpart to discuss haze in July.

     
    • Political appeasement-skewed politeness at play. Which Malaysian PM has made a firm stand / demand from the Indon gomen to rectify its own backyard open burning? The same ‘tip-toeing’ with regards to Indon maids fees bargaining but at losing ends of Malaysian employers.
      Indian maids who speak English I think are much better.

       
    • Tigerz67, great article. And ‘proof’ of who are the culprits (the PTs).
      Looking at the map, Sumatra is surely devastated – more than 50% is burning to the tree roots as hot as hell’s fire. What’s left of Nature, once an envy of treeless Arab countries?

      This burning affair has been going on for almost 3 decades but scolding & finger pointing at these recalcitrant corporations & Indon gomens still make no iota of difference, whatsoever. It seems that convenient & cheap burning at the expense of neighboring countries is too good an opportunity profit to sacrifice but surely add to the annual GDP & tax coffers. Also, don’t tell us they can’t monitor these PTs who burn the plantations & forest year after year in their own backyard.

      May God bring down on them Nature calamities to teach them a harsh lesson. Tsunami 2004 seems a forgotten act of Nature. Slowing down or reverse the south west monsoon winds is one solution to stagnate the cross boundary flow of haze locally in Indonesia. HAARP, are you listening & breathing in the ASEAN air?

      We all live in the same globe, with the same air. Let’s not foul it for more deeper pockets but less healthy environment.

       
  5. I think its pointless complaining directly to the governments. They have been pussy footing around each other for years. We should find out which companies are slashing and burning in Indonesia. The haze is to extensive for it to be just small stakeholders. Even the Singapore PM thinks so.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/searealtime/2013/06/21/indonesia-investigates-eight-companies-over-sumatra-fires/

    Here is Greenpeace’s rating of palm oil companies
    http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/publications/forests/2012/Indonesia/PalmOilScorecard.pdf

    Lets find out which company is responsible and call to boycott them directly and put pressure on them. This was successfully done with a pulp and paper company APP who was responsible for vast de-forestation in Sumatra. And the boycott worked.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/26/sumatra-borneo-deforestation-tigers-palm-oil
    http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/forests/asia-pacific/app/

     
  6. Why can’t the Indonesian authority just have a legislation passed that burning method to clear the land is an offense and that will be the end of the problem ? After all these palm oil plantation owners are big timers in the industry and no doubt can afford to carry the extra charges with any new methods enforced.
    I think it must have be with the blessing of someone higher in the Indonesian authority’s ‘blessing’ that the burning has become an annual affair. One time before an Indonesian authority had said no one was complaining when their forest was producing oxygen for the region but when it produced the haze everyone complained. Now an Indonesian senior minister is calling the Singapore minister behaving like a child. One even said it is the cause of nature and not man made, what kind of claim is that ? The root cause is started by men who started the burning, these excuses are clearly examples of the ‘benefits’ behind the whole scenario in the Indonesian cabinet. Hence with these men around the problem will go on forever, it is just like when a blogger in supporting the gerrymandering that are taking place in Malaysia when he said gerrymandering is acceptable because it is also taking place in other countries.
    Murders and robbing are also taking place in other countries ? Do that make murders and robbing right ? These are the kind of answers to be expected from the rapscallions of this world, brainless !

     
  7. And we have one Indonesian official that said the Singaporean is childish over such matters. If only if it affect them I wonder what they will say. This idiot

     
    • President Susilo only took action and declared to spend USD20 million to fight the fire, only after Singapore Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan flew to Jakarta urgently with a special letter from PM Lee to President Susilo – perhaps with a cheque of USD20 million eclosed?

      (Is that) why our Environment Minister delayed his trip to Indonesia.
      In Indonesia, no money no talk.

       
  8. ‘Slash & burn’ to clear the land for oil palm plantation cost US$50/hectare vs the US$250/hectare environmentally-friendly way. I doubt these companies practise proper corporate social responsibility for economic reason alone, thus the haze problem.

    Not sure if Malaysian oil pam companies in Sumatra practise the right way in view of the falling oil palm prices. Green peace is watching!

     
    • Singapore’s Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam said Singapore will offer no succour nor refuge to companies responsible for illegal fires in Indonesia that have caused the haze affecting Singapore.

      Will our BN government do likewise?

       
    • Umno/Bn government will not mind if its citizens die but will go all out to protect the plantations who are the major contributors of haze. Despite Umno/Bn’s incompetence over several issues, yet Malaysians chose to allow these scoundrels to run the country. Malaysians are now reaping for what they sowed on 5 May 2013.

      The Umno/BN government iwill not come down hard on the errant oil palm plantation owners, … in order to safeguard the good name of Felda Global Holdings associated with such industry? These businesses are owned by well-connected cronies. The ordinary rakyat suffer instead while these cronies jet away to somewhere else where the air is cleaner and safer.

       

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