According to the National Environmental Agency (NEA), the yearly haze is back in Singapore, this time hitting the unhealthy range of 103 PSI at 5pm. Although the Indonesian government has ratified an environment treaty on trans-boundary air pollution, 120 forest fire burning locations, also known as “hot spots”, were detected in Sumatra from satellite images today (August 21).
The current Minister of Environment, Vivian Balakrishnan, did not comment about the potential return of the haze, which have created serious health and respiratory-related conditions among Singaporeans over the past decade. Forest burning is an efficient way of clearing lands for agricultural plantation but its environmental impact is disastrous. In 2014, Minister Vivian Balakrishnan vowed to fine Singapore companies which are involved with the forest burning practice by up to S$1.6 million, but no company was singled out by his Ministry to date.