Published on Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It's an ill wind that blows haze over Singapore


Singapore and Malaysia are both battling extreme haze problems resulting from fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Singapore's environment minister Vivian Balakrishnan said he is "deeply concerned that the 113 hotspots detected over Sumatra have led to such a bad haze in Singapore".

The haze has been visible across the island, shrouding landmarks like Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer.

Hazy conditions are expected to persist for the next few days.

Smoke from forest fires, some deliberately started to clear forests for planting, has carried to Kuala Lumpur, where it reached unhealthy levels over the weekend.

Indonesia's government has outlawed land clearing by fire but weak law enforcement means the ban is largely ignored.

The haze is said to be the worst since 1997-1998 when it disrupted air travel and other business activities.

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