06/20/2013, 00.00
SINGAPORE - INDONESIA
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Fires in Sumatra, smoke envelops Singapore. Alarm for citizens’ health

An emergency summit called between a delegation from the city-state and officials in Jakarta. For days, Singapore has been wrapped in a thick blanket, the prime minister invites people to stay home as pollution worsens. The fires caused by clearing of forests to create agricultural areas.

Singapore (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Singapore and Indonesia have called an emergency summit (scheduled for today), to stem the mass of smoke and smog that has enveloped the city-state for days exceeding the alarm threshold. At today's summit, the Environment Minister from Singapore intends to ask the Jakarta delegation  - responsible for the emergency -  for "decisive measures" to put an end to the problem. Yesterday afternoon, the index measuring air pollutants (Psi) in Singapore, reached 321, breaking all previous records and forcing the government to launch an alert among the civilian population. A threshold around 200 PSI indicates  "very unhealthy" air and if it exceeds 300 becomes "dangerous" to humans.


Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore's Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, wrote on his Facebook page that "the Singaporeans have lost patience" and "no nation or society has the right to pollute the air at the expense of the health and welfare of the citizens of Singapore. " Even Prime Minister Lee Hsieng Loong has intervened asking the population to "stay at home and avoid outdoor activities as much as possible."

The thick blanket of fog that has enveloped the city for days, is caused by the smoke caused by the continuous fires which are taking place in the nearby forests of Sumatra (Indonesia). Because of the fires, not only Singapore but the same Malaysia has registered a sharp deterioration in air quality.

Initially, the fires were programmed as part of land clearing to make way for a cultivable area of ​​the forest. However, according to Indonesian officials some "foreigner" companies including "Singapore companies" are responsible for a sudden and uncontrolled propagation of fires. Allegations firmly rejected by the companies of the city-state, which angrily denies any responsibility.

 

 

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