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'Hazy' Business Outlook For Causing Haze Pollution To Singapore

by April 16, 2016 General

From Massita Ahmad

SINGAPORE, April 16 (Bernama) — Errant companies could expect ‘hazy’ outlook for their businesses if they are found to have caused haze pollution affecting Singapore.

Either based in Singapore or overseas, the companies will be held accountable under the republic’s Transboundary Haze Pollution Act which already came into effect in September 2014.

Therefore, the companies must do their business ethically for not sparking any fire before forming a region-wide scale of smoky dirt cloud.

Under the THPA, haze pollution is said to have occurred if the 24-hour ‘Pollutant Standards Index’ remains at 101 or higher for 24 continuous hours or longer.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said the THPA had given the republic the tools to be effective in getting companies to take notice and take actions.

And this ‘little red dot’ has a ‘simple’ message to all these companies.

“Companies practising unsustainable production that affect us with haze must know that their actions will not lead to profitability and that they will have to face the consequences sooner or later.”

The National Environment Agency of Singapore has recently served Notices under Sections 10 and 11 of the THPA on a foreign director when he was in the republic.

These Notices require the director to provide information relevant to the haze and attend an interview in relation to the ongoing investigations.

In accordance with the law, Singapore will take every necessary step to enforce the THPA, bearing in mind that outside of Singapore, there are limited possibilities.

“We will, of course, hold any Singapore-linked persons or entities to account,” Masagos said at the Third Singapore Dialogue on Sustainable World Resources recently.

“At the same time, even if the errant company’s officers are foreigners, they will have to comply with the laws of the country, including the notices under the THPA, should they come to Singapore,” he said.

The companies can ‘ignite’ the fire but they are not ‘fireproof’.

‘Peta Kepo Hutan’ maybe one of the solution which relates to the transparency of information on concessions and hotspots.

Greenpeace Indonesia recently launched a public geography information system (GIS) portal ‘Peta Kepo Hutan’ which overlays concession information from various official sources.

It allows tracking of fires on different concession types, from palm oil, to logging, wood fibre and mining concessions.

A useful feature is that ‘Peta Kepo Hutan’ now allows the identification of companies that own such concessions.