Haze haunts the North

March 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Laos PDR, Myanmar, News, Thailand

CHIANG MAI, 29 March 2017: The annual smog, or smoke haze, is turning into a major deterrent persuading travellers to scratch North Thailand off their travel plans, according to the Economics Research and Agricultural Forecasting Centre (Maejo Poll).

Released last week, the research focused on 1,015 Thai travellers who had visited Chiang Mai during 20 February to 5 March this year.

72.88% of interviewees said they had experience severe haze, while 27.12% said they had not been aware of it when visiting Chiang Mai. Read more

Southeast Asia haze a killer

September 20, 2016 by  
Filed under ASEAN, News

JAKARTA, 20 September 2016: A smog outbreak in Southeast Asia last year may have caused over 100,000 premature deaths, according to a new study released Monday that triggered calls for action to tackle the “killer haze”.

Researchers from Harvard and Columbia universities in the US estimated there were more than 90,000 early deaths in Indonesia in areas closest to haze-belching fires, and several thousand more in neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia.

The new estimate, reached using a complex analytical model, is far higher than the previous official death toll given by authorities of just 19 deaths in Indonesia. Read more

Big business defy efforts to end fires

September 6, 2016 by  
Filed under Indonesia, News

JAKARTA, 6 September 2016: Indonesian officials investigating forest fires that cause an annual haze to cover the region, were taken hostage and threatened with death by a mob allegedly linked to a palm oil company, prompting activists Monday to decry a law enforcement crisis.

A seven-strong team on Sumatra island, which is afflicted with serious fires during the dry season, every year, were probing why blazes were burning out of control despite the government’s attempts to combat them.

But as they examined a plantation where a company called Andika Permata Sawit Lestari (APSL) was suspected of using fires to illegally clear land, a 100-strong gang forced them to delete photos and then took them hostage. Read more

Singapore instigates mosquito wipeout

September 2, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Singapore

SINAPORE, 2 September 2016: Singapore’s Ministry of Health and the National Environment Agency have identified a potential cluster of Zika virus infection in a the residential area of Bedok North Avenue 3, east of downtown Singapore and approximately 12 km from Changi airport.

MOH also confirmed that a pregnant woman living in the Aljunied Crescent/ Sims Drive area had tested positive for the  Zika virus infection.

It confirmed that 24 new cases had been identified by 1 September, all in residential areas east of downtown Singapore. Read more

Smog back in Singapore

August 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Indonesia, News, Singapore

SINGAPORE, 29 August 2016: Acrid smog blanketed Singapore at the weekend as the city-state was hit by the year’s first major outbreak of haze, an annual crisis sparked by forest fires in neighbouring Indonesia.

Singapore’s air quality index reached unhealthy levels with conditions deteriorating marking last Friday as the worst haze episode in the city since vast parts of Southeast Asia were blanketed in smoke in 2015.

Last year’s haze outbreak was among the worst in memory, shrouding Malaysia, Singapore, and parts of Thailand in acrid smoke. Read more

Indonesia in haze warning as fires flare

August 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Indonesia, News

SINGAPORE, 22 August, 2016: Indonesia warned, Friday, that haze from forest fires was floating over a key waterway towards its neighbours, and that the number of blazes was rising.

The fires and resulting smog are an annual dry season problem in the archipelago, when blazes are started illegally to quickly and cheaply clear land, typically to make way for palm oil and pulpwood plantations.

But last year’s haze outbreak was among the worst in memory, shrouding Malaysia, Singapore and parts of Thailand in acrid smoke. The crisis forced school closures and caused thousands to fall sick across the region. Read more

Singapore pursues firms over haze

July 4, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Singapore

SINGAPORE, 4 July 2016: Singapore is refusing to back down in its pursuit of those responsible for haze-belching forest fires in Southeast Asia last year, despite struggling to bring the perpetrators before the courts and drawing a sharp rebuke from neighbouring Indonesia.

Forest fires are part of an annual dry-season problem in Indonesia, started illegally to quickly and cheaply clear land for cultivation — particularly for palm oil and pulpwood.

But last year’s haze outbreak was among the worst in memory, shrouding Malaysia, Singapore, and parts of Thailand in acrid smoke and forcing school closures as pollution reached hazardous levels and thousands fell sick across the region. Read more

Battle to ease haze in North Thailand

March 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Hospitality, News, Thailand

BANGKOK, 9 March 2016: A plan to reduce smog and haze in North Thailand gained Thai Cabinet approval last week.

Air pollution caused by wide-spread burning of rice fields and forests in North Thailand and neighbouring Laos and Myanmar troubles the region annual from late February through to early May.

In response, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s plan, approved last week, focuses on nine provinces, namely Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, Phrae, Nan, Phayao, Mae Hong Son, and Tak where air pollution reaches hazardous levels. Read more

Mission to save wildlife

November 27, 2015 by  
Filed under Indonesia, News

BANGKOK, 27 November 2015: Khiri Reach and partner organisations such as Wow Borneo, Asia Transpacific Journeys and Khiri Travel Indonesia have united to draw attention to the plight of orangutans and other wildlife whose habitats are being destroyed by annual forest and peat fires in Kalimantan, Borneo.

Tens of thousand forest fires were deliberately set by palm oil growers and major corporations in the paper pulp industry. Read more

Call for ASEAN to fight haze

October 28, 2015 by  
Filed under News, Southeast Asia

SINGAPORE, 28 October 2015: Singapore has urged fellow ASEAN members to take “firm and decisive action” against the lethal haze still spreading across the region ahead of a group summit in Malaysia next month.

The city-state, one of the most badly affected by recurring smog from land fires in Indonesia, issued the call after Singaporean troops and fire fighters returned from an international assistance mission in Indonesia’s Sumatra island.

“ASEAN must take firm and decisive action, through enhanced regional cooperation, to help prevent the recurrence of this trans-boundary problem,” Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement.

Read more

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