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  Straits Times 15 Jun 07
Haze masterplan now with Indonesia
S'pore has drawn up the plan; it's now up to Jakarta to take action: Yaacob
By Arti Mulchand

Straits Times 15 Jun 07
Jakarta clear about beating haze

Today Online 15 Jun 07
Haze masterplan submitted to Jakarta

Channel NewsAsia 14 Jun 07
Singapore submits haze masterplan to Indonesia

SINGAPORE: Singapore has submitted to Indonesia its masterplan on how to help the country fight its haze problem.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Yaacob Ibrahim said Indonesia has been briefed and he would be going there next week to attend the third Ministerial Committee Meeting on haze.

Various initiatives covered under the masterplan include helping the Jambi province tackle and prevent forest fires. Dr Yaacob said he hopes Indonesia can implement the masterplan soon.

To get this working, various partners like non-governmental organisations need to come on board. Also on the agenda is to persuade Indonesia to deliver on its proposed initiatives.

Dr Yaacob said: "For example, in their plan that was announced this year, they will try to cut back on 50 percent of haze site. I hope they can keep to their promise. I think I will also impress upon other ministers to work together with our Indonesian colleagues to make sure that the masterplan gets implemented." - CNA/so

Today Online 15 Jun 07
Haze masterplan submitted to Jakarta

Singapore has submitted to Indonesia its masterplan to fight haze, even as the latter's forestry minister said the country was confident the bush fires would be "drastically" reduced this year.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim said yesterday that Indonesia had been briefed, and that he would go over next week to attend the third Ministerial Committee Meeting on haze.

Various initiatives in the plan include helping the Jambi province tackle forest fires. Dr Yaacob said he hoped Indonesia would implement the plan soon.

Also on the agenda is to persuade Indonesia to deliver on its proposed initiatives, such as reducing by 50 per cent the number of haze sites this year.

He said: "I hope they can keep their promise. I will impress upon other ministers to work with our Indonesian colleagues to make sure the masterplan gets implemented."

Yesterday, Indonesian forestry minister MS Kaban said regular patrols and helicopter surveillance over the worst affected areas of Sumatra and Borneo have meant fewer farmers and plantation owners are now setting fires to clear their land.

The fires typically flare up when the dry season begins in July. "With the involvement of local officials ... the police and military I am certain that there will be a drastic reduction" in fires, said Mr Kaban after meeting President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The annual smog has caused health problems and losses amounting to billions in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand since 1997, when it first began. AGENCIES


Straits Times 15 Jun 0
7
Haze masterplan now with Indonesia
S'pore has drawn up the plan; it's now up to Jakarta to take action: Yaacob
By Arti Mulchand

INDONESIA now has the masterplan that Singapore drew up to help its Jambi province fight the perennial haze problem, so the ball is in its court. Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim said this yesterday.

Speaking at the sidelines of the National Environment Agency's (NEA) inaugural EcoFriend Award ceremony, he said that it was now up to Indonesia to come up with concrete action plans.

'We have briefed them, and we hope to be able to make sure they take the masterplan and implement it,' he said.

The masterplan addresses fire prevention and suppression, legislation and enforcement, early warning and monitoring, and regional and international collaboration.

Dr Yaacob, who will attend the third Ministerial Steering Committee Meeting in Jambi next week, said he plans to query Indonesia's progress on its commitment to cut the number of hot spots by 50 per cent this year. 'I hope they can keep to their promise,' he said.

At yesterday's ceremony at the Singapore Science Centre, he presented trophies to the 15 inaugural winners of the NEA's first EcoFriend award.

It recognises individuals across all levels of society for their green efforts and taking ownership of the environment, said Mr Ng Meng Hiong, deputy director of the NEA's 3P Partnership, which draws members of the people, and public and private sectors together.

The winners were selected from more than 160 nominees from the public and private sectors, as well as non-government and grassroots organisations, educational institutions and youth bodies.

They range from students to retirees who have contributed to a variety of wide-reaching projects.

These include greening Singapore, fighting dengue and championing environmental efforts in the corporate sector.

This year's youngest winner is Bedok Green Secondary School student Lim Jing Kai, 16, who leads the school's recycling programme and chairs its Environment Club, among other things.

'As we strive towards environmental ownership, we need to show people examples of what they can do. I see this award as a pinnacle of that effort. Hopefully, over time they will inspire others,' said Dr Yaacob, of the winners.

He acknowledged, though, that in a less 'advocative' society like Singapore, it may take time for people to grasp the role they play in things like environmental sustainability and climate change.

With dengue cases not letting up, Dr Yaacob also used the occasion to call, once again, for greater vigilance.

Dengue has already claimed two lives this year, and last week, the weekly number of cases hit a year high of 293. There were 54 open clusters, which are proving to be 'stubborn', he said.

'The clusters are taking longer to be closed, which means it (the Aedes mosquito) is a bit more resilient. So we have to do a lot more.'

But while issues like low compliance to necessary indoor fogging and over-fogging outdoors exist, Dr Yaacob sees no need to change regulations at this point.

But 'all options are still on the table', he said, adding that, for now, the authorities would continue to fully utilise their existing power and penalties. arti@sph.com.sg

Straits Times 15 Jun 07
Jakarta clear about beating haze

JAKARTA - INDONESIA is confident annual brush fires that release tonnes of greenhouse gases and send thick haze over neighbouring nations will be dramatically reduced this year, the Forestry Minister said yesterday.

Regular patrols and helicopter surveillance over the worst affected areas of Sumatra island and the Indonesian-side of Borneo have meant fewer farmers and plantation owners are now setting land-clearing fires, said Mr Malem Sambet Kaban.

The fires typically begin in earnest when the dry season starts, This year's season is expected next month.

'With the involvement of local officials...and the police and military I am certain that in 2007 there will be a drastic reduction' in fires, he said, after meeting President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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