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Singapore raises concerns over haze at UN meeting

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    The Straits Times/ANN

Singapore   /   Mon, May 30, 2016   /  08:36 pm
Singapore raises concerns over haze at UN meeting A woman poses for photos during a hazy day in Singapore, Sept. 10, 2015. (AP/-)

Singapore has raised concerns over transboundary air pollution at a United Nations (UN) meeting involving some 120 environment ministers in Africa last week, the Ministry for the Environ­ment and Water Resources (MEWR) have announced.

During the meeting, called the second session of the UN Environ­ment Assembly (UNEA-2),  Amy Khor said air pollution stunts economic development and has adver­se impacts on human health.

Khor, Senior Minister of State for Environment and Water Resour­ces, noted that the World Health Organization had estimated that seven million deaths occur each year from air pollution exposure.

But she added that tackling air pollution requires action on many fronts, and the joint efforts of governments, civil society, businesses and international organizations such as the UN Environment Prog­ram­me (UNEP).

In Singapore and South-East Asia, haze is a perennial problem, especially during the dry season from June to October.

Forest and peatland fires in countries such as Indonesia release smoke-haze that clouds the region.

Khor said overcoming haze pollution is relevant to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically in promoting sustainable forest management and well-being for all.

“In this regard, both domestic and greater international cooperation are needed to address transboundary air pollution,” Khor said as she delivered Singapore’s national statement at UNEA-2.

She pointed out how Singapore collaborates with its neighbors on fire prevention and mitigation, and capacity building projects to keep the haze at bay. The Republic has also enacted the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act to punish errant firms and individuals whose actions have caused haze pollution in Singapore.

Khor urged businesses to enhance the transparency and accountability of their supply chains, even as civil society helps to foster an informed consumer movement and strengthen support for sustainably-sourced products.

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